What's more, the libraries don't plan to switch their telephone service from Frontier Communications' standard service to "voice-over Internet service," which is sold by companies such as Vonage and Suddenlink.
The state could have saved $2.8 million by buying smaller, less expensive routers for libraries, the audit found.
According to the report, Cisco sales engineer Mark Williamson told auditors that the company recommended the state purchase larger routers because state Department of Education officials requested the devices have a dual-power supply so the routers would continue to function during a power outage.
Williamson said Gianato and state technology office administrator John Dunlap agreed with the dual-power requirement.
But Department of Education officials steadfastly denied Williamson's assertion, and the Cisco sales engineer couldn't find any documents or emails to corroborate his story, according to the audit.
State education officials said they didn't request routers with dual-power supplies because most schools don't have emergency generators.
"The Department of Education did not request or require that the routers for the state's schools have internal dual-power supplies," education officials wrote to the Legislative Auditor. "Education would not have made this requirement because unless a school has two power sources the feature of dual power supplies would have no use."
The oversized routers were purchased anyway in July 2010 -- mostly because no one bothered to ask what size devices the public facilities needed, according to the audit.
"While Mr. Williamson of Cisco and Mr. Gianato stated a need for the routers to have a dual-power supply," the audit said, "the ultimate cause of the state purchasing inappropriately sized routers is that neither a capacity study nor a user need study was conducted."
Router too large for schools and State Police offices
Auditors determined that the state should have purchased smaller routers for 368 schools with fewer than 500 students -- a $3.68 million savings.
At the same time, larger high schools that could have used the Cisco 3945 routers didn't get them. Auditors found that 36 out of 57 schools with more than 750 students didn't receive routers.
Riverside High School, which has 1,200 students, wasn't assigned a router, but the nearby Marmet Public Library was, the audit noted.
Auditors determined that the routers were too large for more than 70 State Police detachments. The state could have saved $1.4 million by buying smaller routers, according to the audit.
The detachments were already using smaller routers purchased four years ago, but the agency must remove the devices to make way for the oversized stimulus-funded routers.
"The West Virginia State Police was never contacted by the grant implementation team concerning broadband and telephone needs," the audit says. "State Police did not ask for the Cisco 3945 routers. Instead, State Police were simply informed that [the agency] was receiving 77 routers."
Auditors also discovered that State Police received the new Cisco 3945 series routers more than two years ago -- all but two of the devices remained boxed up in storage.
State Police can't use the routers because they lack a component that would make the devices compatible with the agency's voicemail system.
The necessary components cost $85,000, and State Police have requested bids from companies that sell the Cisco voicemail modules.
The audit recommends, however, that the state technology office contact Cisco to see whether the company would provide the voicemail modules at no cost and remove other "ad-on" features from the routers that State Police don't want.
The auditor recommended that the state consult with the West Virginia Broadband Deployment Council to determine whether the oversized routers could be removed from some locations that don't need them and installed at larger sites that do. The council must report back to state lawmakers in 60 days.
Perhaps the strongest statement against the $24 million router purchase came from Col. Mike Todorovich, who serves on the state's "broadband grant implementation team" with Gianato, Given and Dunlap.
Todorovich, who oversees the grant's finances, backed the audit's key findings, breaking ranks with his colleagues who have insisted for months that the state saved money and bought routers that were the appropriate size.
Todorovich told auditors: "Those making the decision on how to spend the money did not consult individuals with technical knowledge on the best methods to utilize the funds."
Reach Eric Eyre at erice...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4869.