CHARLOTTE … FairPoint Broadband has signed an agreement to become the exclusive “master distributor” of Artera Turbo, a high-speed, low-cost broadband service, in rural markets nationwide.

Under its agreement with Artera Group of Westport, Conn., FairPoint will distribute Artera Turbo to virtually all of the 1,100 rural local exchange carriers and incumbent local exchange carriers across the country and to approximately 7,600 Internet Service Providers nationwide. These companies will have the opportunity to bundle Artera Turbo with their other products and services or offer it as an additional service to their customers.

Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

“We are very excited about the wholesale agreement because there are millions of Internet users in rural areas across the country who have limited broadband choices,” FairPoint Chief Executive Gene Johnson said in a statement. “Because of our knowledge and understanding of ILEC and rural ISP markets, we are in a unique position to be able to distribute the Artera Turbo service to local companies so they can make this Virtual Broadband service available to their Internet dial-up customers.”

Artera Turbo allows dial-up Internet users to achieve browsing speeds as fast as DSL from a single dial-up line for a fraction of the cost of DSL. This Virtual Broadband solution enhances the speed of browsing activities, including web surfing, web-based e-mail and web-based file transfer.

In August, FairPoint agreed to sell Artera Turbo subscription services through its own 29 rural local exchange carriers, located across 18 states and serving approximately 245,000 access lines.

“With FairPoint Broadband as a partner, we can address this (rural) market quickly and efficiently because the company is an established and respected member of the ILEC community.” Michael Parrella, chairman and CEO of Artera parent NCT Group, said in a statement. “We believe that Artera Turbo will energize the ILEC, RLEC and rural ISP channels through the ability to deliver high-speed Internet to customers who currently cannot be served.”

FairPoint Broadband is a subsidiary of FairPoint Communications, a leading provider of telecommunications services to rural communities across the country.

FairPoint Communications: www.fairpoint.com

Artera Group: www.arteragroup.com