CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia Homeland Security Director Jimmy Gianato told state lawmakers Monday that a former U.S. Commerce secretary called the state's $126.3 million plan to expand high-speed Internet "one of the best written proposals in the country."
"We have done everything the grant said we would do," Gianato said.
But Delegate Nancy Guthrie, D-Kanawha, has drawn a different conclusion about the broadband project.
"It appears we orchestrated a train wreck," Guthrie said during Monday's joint House-Senate technology committee meeting.
In a nine-page letter delivered to legislators, state officials acknowledged the $126.3 million project was supposed to make high-speed fiber-optic cable available to 1,064 public facilities in West Virginia, but the state used the federal stimulus funds to lay fiber to only 600 sites.
The state also promised to build a 900-mile fiber network, but wound up with 600 miles of fiber, Gale Given, the state's chief technology officer, said Monday. The reason: Many of the sites already had fiber.
Those locations, however, received Internet routers, Given said.
"I think there is a misconception that we are putting these [routers] in locations without fiber, and that is not the case," she said.
The U.S. Commerce Department's Inspector General and West Virginia Legislative Auditor's office are reviewing the state's use of the $126.3 million in stimulus funds.
The project was designed to bring high-speed broadband service to 1,064 "community anchor institutions" -- schools, libraries, State Police detachments, health centers, county courthouses, jails, state agencies and other public facilities.
The state also used $24 million of the $126.3 million grant to buy Internet routers for each site. The routers, which cost $22,600 each, were purchased in 2010.