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The Associated Press, LTW

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Telecommunications services provider (NYSE: FRP) says it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after agreeing on a deal with key lenders that will help lower its debt by $1.7 billion.

Shares in the troubled company traded at 37 cents on Friday.

FairPoint also has been under growing pressure from state regulators to improve performance in the New England area.

“The day-to-day operations of our business will not be impacted by today’s actions," said David Hauser, a former Duke Energy executive who recently took over as chairman and chief executive officer of FairPoint. "We want to assure our customers, employees and vendors that we remain committed to continuing to provide reliable, uninterrupted service to all of our customers. Today’s actions represent a critical and positive step in our efforts to reduce our indebtedness, strengthen our financial condition and position FairPoint to compete more effectively in a dynamic marketplace.”

The firm said Monday the restructuring plan with lenders holding more than 50 percent of its outstanding secured debt is subject to bankruptcy court approval.

FairPoint owns and operates phone companies in 18 states with a total of 1.65 million lines, but its largest holdings are in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, where it bought Verizon’s land lines and Internet services for $2.3 billion in 2008.

Last week, FairPoint met with labor unions to discuss possible contract concessions.