CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia is seeking proposals for how to spend $9 million left over from a $126.3 million federal stimulus grant that's designed to expand high-speed Internet across the state.
The state plans to spend the $9 million in excess federal funds by Jan. 31.
Companies have until Tuesday to submit proposals.
"The purpose is to solicit input from a wide range of vendors on possible uses for the funds remaining from the [federal broadband] grant," said Diane Holley-Brown, a spokeswoman for the state Office of Technology. "The original grant request was based on estimates and, at this point in the project, it is not expected that all funding will be spent."
In July, the state Broadband Deployment Council learned that about $9 million would remain unspent.
The state's request for project proposals requires companies to provide a 20 percent funding match. Projects must extend fiber optic cable into rural areas of West Virginia, or expand wireless broadband Internet service.
In 2010, West Virginia received $126.3 million in federal stimulus funds to bring fiber cable to more than 1,000 "community anchor institutions" -- schools, libraries, health clinics, 911 centers, state agencies and other public facilities.
The state scaled back the project after discovery that many facilities already had fiber connections.
The U.S. Office of the Inspector General is reviewing West Virginia's use of the $126.3 million.
State officials said the $9 million could be split among several projects. The state plans to submit winning proposals to the National Telecommunications & Information Administration, which oversees the broadband grant, for approval.
"We would expect there will be enough ideas generated to utilize the remaining funds," Holley-Brown said. "If there are unspent funds, they would be returned to the U.S. Treasury."Reach Eric Eyre at erice...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4869.