FairPoint upgrades to bring speedier broadband service

FairPoint Communications says customers served by 11 of its central offices in Maine will get faster broadband service because of upgrades that have been approved by the Maine Public Utilities Commission.

FairPoint plans to invest about $450,000 to install new technology that will benefit customers served by offices in Bowdoinham, Corinth, Dexter, Mechanic Falls, Monroe, Searsport, Sullivan, Vinalhaven, Washburn, Wilton and Woodland. The network upgrades will begin soon and FairPoint expects to complete the work by the end of this year.

The upgrades include adding Ethernet high-speed equipment to those communities, enabling more customers to achieve the full speed potential of the FairPoint’s next-generation network.


Stock markets stabilize after ‘damage’ of the previous day

NEW YORK – The steep losses finally stopped Wednesday as the stock market turned calm, a day after one of its biggest sell-offs of the year. Indexes ended with slight losses after the Federal Reserve said the U.S. economy still needs support.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 25.19 points at 13,077.34, a day after one of its worst drops this year. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 4.36 points to close at 1,408.75 while the Nasdaq composite index fell 8.76 points to 2,991.70.

“Today we’re assessing the damage,” said Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott. “Everybody just got clobbered yesterday.”

Lower corporate revenue and lower expectations for the rest of the year drove the Dow down 243 points Tuesday, its third-biggest drop this year. DuPont, 3M, UPS and Xerox all reported lower sales than a year ago.

“It seemed out of the blue, but what we were seeing was stock prices adjusting to corporate profitability,” Luschini said.


Trader’s fraud nets prison, order to pay back $7 billion

PARIS – The Paris appeals court on Wednesday ordered former Societe Generale trader Jerome Kerviel to spend three years in prison and pay back a staggering (euro) 4.9 billion (about $7 billion) in damages for one of the biggest trading frauds in history.

The 35-year-old Kerviel, who never profited personally from his unauthorized trades, says he was a scapegoat for the bank and a victim of a financial system that runs on greed and profits. He will appeal his case to the highest court.

“I will continue to fight,” he said. “I think the judgment is protecting Societe Generale.”

He called on those in the banking industry, notably Societe Generale employees, to step forward and speak up about how the bank’s managers knew about the trades.

Kerviel said he had thought the court might acquit him. “What happened today is a call for me to put a bullet in my head,” he said, adding that he does “absolutely not” envision suicide. His lawyer, David Koubbi, called the verdict “absolutely lamentable.”

A lower court convicted Kerviel in October 2010 of forgery, breach of trust and unauthorized computer use for covering up bets worth nearly (euro) 50 billion — more than the market value of the entire bank — in 2007 and 2008. By the time his trades were discovered in early 2008, when banks were sliding into a global crisis, he had amassed losses of almost (euro) 5 billion on the bets.