Updated at 1:07 p.m.

PORTLAND — Thousands of FairPoint Communications customers were left without Internet service today after a piece of Central Maine Power Co. equipment malfunctioned and damaged FairPoint’s high-speed data lines, officials said.

FairPoint customer service representatives received more than 100 calls this morning indicating scattered Internet outages – but no phone service interruptions – across much of Maine, said spokesman Jeff Nevins.

The problem was caused by an early morning fire on a utility pole directly outside the company’s state headquarters in Portland, Nevins said. Company officials expected service to be restored by 2 p.m.

“It’s widespread, but it’s sporadic,” Nevins said.

FairPoint, based in Charlotte, N.C., has experienced operational problems since buying Verizon Communications’ land line and Internet operations in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont in 2008. FairPoint is now going through Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.

FairPoint didn’t have a precise number of how many customers were left without Internet service during the outage. The company has tens of thousands of Internet access lines in Maine but does not release exact figures on a state-by-state basis.

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