Federal and state officials initially announced that the state would build a 2,400-mile fiber network. But they later acknowledged the number was a "clerical error," and that a 900-mile network was in the works.
Months later, state officials discovered that many of the community facilities already had fiber. The state Office of Technology scrambled to find new sites that wanted high-speed fiber.
The state now plans to provide new fiber service to 630 sites -- about half of the 1,064 locations initially scheduled to receive the high-speed cable.
Earlier this month, Frontier finished installing 590 miles of fiber to the public facilities. The company also has completed 81 miles of an 85-mile fiber network that will connect West Virginia University to the National Radio Astronomy Observatory at Green Bank in Pocahontas County.
Even though fiber construction is nearly finished, $42.7 million of the $126.3 million remains unspent. State officials have said they have a backlog of Frontier invoices that haven't been processed. Frontier is due about $45 million for the project, but has been paid only about $10 million. Frontier declined to comment last week.
Also last week, state Chief Technology Officer Gale Given reiterated that grant funds would likely be leftover once construction is complete. She declined to estimate the amount of unspent funds. Previous estimates ranged from $4 million to $8 million.
The stimulus money earmarked for the broadband expansion project must be spent by Sept. 30, or the state will have to return unspent funds to the federal government.Reach Eric Eyre at erice...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4869.