The contract didn't specify a maximum-dollar purchase limit.
State agencies typically use the secondary bid process and statewide contracts for smaller purchases -- items such as computers and office furniture -- in the hundreds or thousands of dollars.
At the state broadband team's request, the state Office of Technology solicited bids for 1,064 high-end Cisco routers on the agency's "bulletin board." The request was never publicly advertised, and the state Purchasing Division never reviewed the bids.
Only two vendors - Verizon Network Integration and Hebron, Ky.-based Pomeroy -- were qualified to bid on the routers under the state contract. Verizon was the low bidder and sold the Cisco routers to the state.
This isn't the first time Gianato has had to answer questions about the Internet routers.
In June, the chairmen of two U.S. House Energy subcommittees requested information about West Virginia's router purchase.
In a June 28 letter to U.S. Reps. Greg Walden of Oregon and John Shimkus of Illinois, Gianato responded that the state used a "Request for Proposal," or RFP -- a formal and comprehensive bidding process -- to purchase the 1,064 Cisco routers.
"The RFP dictated that Cisco routers were to be provisioned by the winning entity," Gianato wrote. "Since only 1,064 had been planned for in the project, that number was specified in the RFP."
The Gazette previously obtained documents that chronicle the router purchase. The documents don't include an RFP.
Gianato would not comment Tuesday on whether the state solicited bids for routers through an RFP.
The Gazette has reported that the Cisco 3945 series routers were built to serve a minimum of 500 users, and up to tens of thousands of users. But the state has installed the devices in some public facilities with only a few Internet connections. Seventy percent of the routers wound up in schools and libraries. Internet routers funnel data, such as email and websites, from one computer network to another.
Earlier this year, the state Commerce Department hired a Virginia-based consultant, ICF International, to examine West Virginia's use of the $126.3 million in stimulus funds to expand broadband across the state.
Gianato has said the Cisco routers are the appropriate size for all public facilities that have received the devices. He also has said that the broadband grant implementation team decided to purchase 1,064 routers of the same size to save the state money.
Reach Eric Eyre at erice...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4869.