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CityNet: Don't Pay Frontier Another Dime in WV Without Audit

by Karl Bode, Broadband

We've explored just how corrupt and dysfunctional West Virginia has been when it came to spending their $126.3 million in broadband stimulus funds. Local Charleston Gazette reporter Eric Eyre has been doing an absolutely fantastic job the last few years, highlighting how Verizon, Frontier and Cisco convinced the state to buy ridiculously overpriced, overpowered and unused routers, and ridiculously overpaid, redundant consultants who haven't actually accomplished anything.

Back in March the state buried a study on their spending of the stimulus money (which they spent $118,000 for) that leaked anyway, highlighting that how Frontier Communications did a sloppy job in tracking spending, may have overbilled taxpayers substantially, and only built a mish mash of geographically scattered fiber upgrades that the majority of state residents wouldn't benefit from in the slightest.

Now the CEO of local IT company CityNet is recommending that Frontier not receive another dime until there has been a transparent audit of their deployments in West Virginia:

We recommend that the state not spend any more taxpayer money or pay outstanding invoices on the [broadband project] fiber until a complete audit of the fiber build is conducted," Martin said. At a meeting last week, state lawmakers raised questions about Frontier's fiber construction costs. Frontier is charging about $62,000 for each mile of fiber -- about double the cost of similar projects elsewhere in West Virginia...Citing "industry experts," Martin said Frontier might have billed the state for more fiber mileage than the company actually built.

In short: use your money to further entrench the local monopoly, bury the report that shows said monopoly wasn't accountable with their spending, then blame, well, pretty much everything other than the cause. The mess in West Virginia shows pretty clearly what happens when anti-competitive corporations and broken political systems get too cuddly, and unfortunately overshadows the many good things the broadband stimulus has done.

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