Sen. Joe Manchin, who served as governor when the state purchased the routers in 2010, defended the decision, saying the devices were a "long-term investment."
"We were planning for future growth and wanted to be able to educate our children, create jobs, grow our economy and keep our communities safe well into the 21st century," Manchin said. "As governor and as senator, I've always believed ... it's important to look beyond the shortsighted goals of today and start building our state's future."
Also at Tuesday's Broadband Council meeting, a subcommittee proposed legislation that would allow the council to distribute state grant money designed to encourage people to subscribe to broadband throughout West Virginia.
Current law only permits the council to give broadband "demand promotion grants" in remote areas that don't have high-speed Internet.
It doesn't make sense to promote broadband in areas that don't have the service, council members said. Broadband marketing projects might generate interest in broadband, but they wouldn't be able to sign up if the high-speed service isn't available.
"With this change to the statute, we could offer demand-promotion grants anywhere in the state," said council Chairman Dan O'Hanlon.
In December, the Broadband Deployment Council declined to award grant money to a Pendleton County organization -- called Future Generations -- that wanted to promote high-speed Internet in Southern West Virginia. The group has blasted council members for the snub.
The Broadband Deployment Council has $1.6 million in leftover funds it hopes to distribute later this year.
Council members also considered a proposal Tuesday to ask state lawmakers for funding to hire an executive director and office assistant. The council now has no staff members, but pays a Pennsylvania-based consulting group, L.R. Kimball, for technical assistance.
Reach Eric Eyre at erice...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4869.