Commerce officials sent invitations to telecommunications providers, city and county government officials, school boards, economic development agencies and developers. Companies also were invited to set up exhibit booths for a $1,000 fee.
"Experts will have the opportunity to update those in attendance on the status of broadband in West Virginia and showcase what others are doing to access broadband in their areas," the invitation says.
Lee Fisher, who serves on the West Virginia Broadband Deployment Council, said he never received an invitation to the event. He said he would have attended.
"It would be an excellent opportunity for the state," Fisher said. "Technology has climbed so much in the state, along with efforts by providers to bring broadband to places that never had it before."
Manchin's office recently called the Gazette-Mail, saying the senator planned to attend the broadband summit.
In late February, Manchin was quoted on the MetroNews website saying he planned to speak about the $126.3 million broadband expansion at last week's Broadband Deployment Council meeting. As West Virginia's governor, Manchin helped secure the stimulus funds, and his administration started the project in 2010. Manchin has defended his former aides' decision to purchase the $22,600 routers.
Last week, a Manchin spokesman said the senator meant to say he would be speaking at the statewide broadband summit, not at the council meeting. Manchin was scheduled as the keynote speaker on March 27.
The state is using the stimulus funds to install high-speed fiber-optic cable to about 600 "community anchor institutions" -- schools, libraries, jails, health centers, county courthouses, planning agencies, 911 centers, State Police detachments and other public facilities. Frontier Communications is being paid about $40 million for fiber construction.
The routers -- more than 1,100 -- cost $24 million and are being installed at those 600 sites and another 500 locations that already have fiber.
The state also is spending the stimulus funds on expanding an emergency communications tower network and to provide fiber service to the National Radio Astronomy Observatory at Green Bank.
Burdette said it was his decision to postpone the broadband conference. He said he hasn't selected a new date for the event.
"It will be rescheduled," Burdette said. "We will be doing that. I assure you, it's going to be rescheduled."
Reach Eric Eyre at erice...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4869.