On Monday, Guthrie asked why the state only solicited bids for Cisco routers and not other manufacturers.
State officials said the state used an existing statewide Internet equipment contract, and that vendors only proposed selling Cisco routers. Verizon Business sold the Cisco routers to the state.
Gianato said the federal government required that West Virginia's proposed broadband expansion project be "shovel-ready."
"All of the equipment was bought off contracts that had been competitively bid," he said.
Also Monday, Given said:
| State libraries will soon be able to connect their routers to new fiber lines. Last month, the Gazette reported that 170 libraries hadn't connected to the fiber because they couldn't afford the faster Internet service. Given said Frontier has agreed to bill libraries for upgraded service at the same price they're paying now.
| Seventy State Police detachments also plan to start using the routers. The devices have remained in storage for more than two years because they weren't compatible with the agency's voicemail system. Given said the state plans to spend $90,000 to buy modules that will fix the problem. "We will be able to upgrade that and switch over to the new routers," she said.
| The Cisco routers were "right sized" for the public facilities. The Gazette has reported that the routers were designed to serve a minimum of 500 Internet connections, but the state has installed the pricey devices at numerous sites with only a handful of computer terminals.
Given defended the state's decision to purchase the same size router for all 1,064 public facilities.
"The team determined that capacity should be provided to permit these community anchor institutions to deploy the applications that were required to meet future needs, not their current needs," Given wrote in her letter to state lawmakers. "It would be a mistake to determine in advance that entities with low bandwidth requirements today will not have high bandwidth requirements in the future. To have shortchanged our smaller, more rural areas would have gone against the entire intent of the program."
The legislative committee plans to ask additional questions at a February interim meeting.
Reach Eric Eyre at erice...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4869.