The federal agency also cited an $880,000 shortfall in the project budget, and questioned whether Citynet could complete the work by the end of the year.
What's more, the state's proposal didn't included letters of support that explain how the Citynet project would benefit "specific communities," according to NTIA's letter.
Federal officials said they couldn't evaluate the project without the requested information, and "any unobligated grant funds will be returned to the U.S. Treasury."
Two days later, Citynet's Martin wrote a letter to state officials, promising that the company would cover any budget shortfalls.
"There is no scenario in which the state will not have enough funds to complete the project," Martin said.
Martin also disputed federal officials' assertions that Citynet couldn't complete the project by Dec. 31, adding that the two-week federal government shutdown in October had prompted delays.
"The state should not be penalized and required to send back residual funds because of timing concerns that are just now being presented, especially since much of the delay over the past month was caused by the federal shutdown," Martin said.
If the NTIA doesn't approve the Citynet project, the $1.9 million Cisco credit would be used for equipment unrelated to broadband, and the state would have to return millions of dollars in leftover stimulus funds, Martin said.
Citynet has said the GigaPop facilities would provide West Virginia with direct connections to the lightning-fast national Internet system.
The state would purchase and own the equipment. Citynet would operate the network.
At least a dozen companies -- including Suddenlink Communications, nTelos and Shentel -- have expressed interest in tapping into the proposed high-speed network. Frontier wasn't one of them.
The excess funds for the Citynet project would come from a $126.3 million federal grant that the state received in 2010 to expand high-speed Internet.
That year, the state announced plans to install more than 900 miles of fiber-optic cable to more than 1,000 public facilities.
Instead, the state scaled back the project to 675 miles of fiber, and only 590 buildings received high-speed connections.
State officials also used the stimulus funds to purchase more than 1,100 high-capacity Internet routers without checking to see whether the public facilities needed the devices.
Last February, the state Legislative Auditor released a scathing report, finding that the state wasted at least $7.9 million -- and up to $15 million -- on the routers.
The $126.3 million project was supposed to be completed last January, but federal officials granted two extensions. The NTIA doesn't appear willing to extend the project deadline past Dec. 31.Reach Eric Eyre at erice...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4869.