FairPoint set to move ahead with state’s next 911 system

FairPoint Communications is ready to move forward with a five-year contract worth $32 million to provide the next-generation 911 system in Maine.

After two appeals, the Public Utilities Commission awarded the contract for a third time to FairPoint on Nov. 21. The period for filing further appeals ended Wednesday.

FairPoint will provide the system and support for Maine’s 26 Public Safety Answering Points, which answer 911 calls in their coverage area. The Emergency Services Communication Bureau oversees implementation and operation of the statewide Enhanced 911 service that FairPoint currently provides.

The process for the new contract was contentious, with Colorado-based Intrado and Maine-based Oxford Networks appealing the PUC’s decision in favor of FairPoint.

Midnight shopper madness creeping into December

If you thought the around-the-clock, midnight shopping madness was confined to Black Friday, you would be wrong.

It’s now creeping into December, too, in the home stretch leading up to Christmas.

Macy’s announced Thursday that all of its stores will be open for 48 hours straight starting from 7 a.m. Friday, Dec. 21, through 7 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 23. Then the stores will close for an hour, and reopen for normal business hours.

The department store tested out these extended hours in select markets last year before rolling them out nationwide this year.

“We found our customers really appreciated it,” said Lauren Rapisand, a Macy’s spokeswoman.

Last year, a number of retailers held extended hours in the home stretch leading up to Christmas. Some Target stores stayed open until midnight, while Toys R Us stayed open for 112 consecutive hours leading up to Christmas Eve.

Stocks show modest gains from boost to tech shares

NEW YORK – U.S. stocks climbed modestly Thursday, with an optimistic forecast from Broadcom Corp. bolstering technology shares as investors watched fiscal-cliff negotiations.

The Dow Jones industrial average added 39.55 points, or 0.3 percent, at 13,074.04, with computer-chip maker Intel Corp. leading gains among the 30 components.

Intel CEO Paul Otellini, who is retiring in May, said Wednesday his successor would likely be chosen from inside the company.

The S&P 500 index rose 4.66 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,413.94. Broadcom’s shares rose 3.2 percent, a day after the chip manufacturer projected fourth-quarter revenue at the upper end of its target range.

Akamai Technologies Inc. rallied 10 percent on news that it would jointly sell services with AT&T Inc..

Shares of Safeway Inc. jumped 2.4 percent after the food-and-drug retailer joined other companies in accelerating its quarterly cash dividend to December to bypass a potential increase in dividend taxes if the fiscal-cliff issue remains in play at the end of the year.

Halting a four-session losing streak, the Nasdaq composite climbed 15.57 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,989.27. Apple Inc. rose 1.6 percent.

— From news service reports