Frontier said federal grant stipulations required the company to pay government-contract "prevailing wages" to workers who installed fiber. The higher wages increased the project's cost by $7.5 million, or $11,000 per mile on average.
The state also required Frontier to complete $2.4 million in extra work to get the fiber into public facilities, such as schools and libraries, the company said. Legal fees added another $500,000 to the project's cost, Frontier said.
In previous letters to state officials, Martin has alleged that Frontier may have inflated the total fiber mileage by installing unneeded spools of fiber at public facilities.
In its release -- titled "Myths vs. Reality" and distributed to the media and state lawmakers Monday -- Frontier said the project included 100 feet of "maintenance coil" at every site, or about 12 miles of fiber in total across the state.
Also Monday, Martin alleged that Frontier built the $42 million fiber network in such a way that competitors, such as Citynet, can't use it to bring high-speed Internet service to residential and business customers.
"At the end of the day, that fiber is not useful to any other providers but Frontier," Martin said.
He said Frontier installed short fiber segments -- less than 2,000 feet on average -- to public facilities.
The fragmented "last-mile" network runs fiber "tails" from public facilities to street-corner telephone poles, he said. The network doesn't connect the public buildings to each other, or back to Frontier's "central offices," telecommunication hubs where other broadband providers could access the network.
"The only fiber that was built went from the school out to the pole and stopped," Martin said. "The challenge is, we still have to have to buy services from Frontier to get there, and their rates are so high it makes it unaffordable for a company to get into a rural market."
In its news release, Frontier said it offers discounted prices for competitors that want to hook up to the "open-access" network.
Given said Frontier officials notified her that the company is negotiating with "six or seven" Internet providers that have "expressed interest" in tapping into the stimulus-funded fiber. Given said she didn't know the names of the companies.
Lawmakers noted that a Nov. 22 report prepared by state officials and sent to the federal government said Frontier wasn't negotiating with any companies that provide Internet service.
"At the time that report was put together that was probably correct," Given said. "There weren't any in negotiations. Since then, we've learned there are six or seven in negotiations."
Reach Eric Eyre at erice...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4869.