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Tomblin says state’s router deployment will be “re-analyzed”

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Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced Feb. 28 the state will re-analyze the deployment of broadband routers that were criticized in a lengthy legislative audit as oversized and wasteful.

One of the most-publicized examples is the Marmet Public Library, which is housed in a trailer that one official has said costs less than the router that was put there to power hundreds of Internet connections at once.

The state's router purchase and deployment also was subject of a hearing on Capitol Hill Feb. 27.

Tomblin's announcement came after recommendations and requests from the United States Inspector General for the United States Department of Commerce, according to a news release from Tomblin's office. The news release also states that the administration will take the legislative auditor's recommendations under consideration as well.

To read our previous coverage of this subject, click here.

The state received a Broadband Technology Opportunity Program grant in 2010.

"It is apparent that the BTOP Grant Team, established in 2010, had noble intentions, appropriate dreams and a good plan to unleash West Virginia's potential through the use of enhanced broadband capabilities," Tomblin said in his news release. "Many of those goals are being accomplished and many goals will be improved upon as we put in place the framework for an exciting future for West Virginia."

Tomblin said the audits have "raised concerns that we must address."

"Every West Virginian needs to know that if something needs improved, we, as public officials, will identify the issues and fix them," Tomblin said in the news release. "We will work to make sure that the West Virginia BTOP Grant is a complete success for West Virginia."

Tomblin said the state will re-analyze the deployment of routers to the "Community Anchor Institutions," they have been put in during the next 30 days.

According to the news release, both Cisco and the NTIA have indicated that they will work with the state to "address router deployment issues.

Tomblin also announced a new outreach effort to all the anchor institutions "to ensure full utilization of router capability," including the creation of a Broadband Task Force to focus on developments at the institutions and report back to the Legislature and the governor by Jan. 1, 2014.

"As part of this path forward, we are pleased the Cisco has agreed, at no cost to the state, to extend the five-year warranty of all routers for the next three years, to exchange or accept returns of routers that don't fit future goals of our CIAs and to participate in a statewide task force designed to create a strategic plan for the future of broadband capabilities in West Virginia," Tomblin's news release states.