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Verizon Still Screwing West Virginia, Even After Leaving State
New Report: Verizon Billing Out Broadband 'Consultants' at $500k
by Karl Bode 02:08PM Monday Nov 26 2012
West Virginia is once again facing criticism for broadband stimulus spending after a new report highlighted that the state has paid broadband "consultants" millions of dollars despite continuing to be one of the worst connected states in the nation. West Virginia was already under fire after a series of reports in the Charleston Gazette Mail highlighted how the state was using millions in broadband stimulus funding to buy overpowered routers from Verizon at $22,000 a piece -- only to use them in tiny libraries while leaving hundreds of other routers in storage collecting dust.

Now the Gazette Mail is again digging into the state's broadband stimulus spending, noting how the state -- again with "help" from Verizon -- is billing out "consultants" with some exorbitant salaries, whether you live in West Virginia or not:
quote:
West Virginia spent $512,000 in federal stimulus funds last year to pay a consultant who's helping to manage the state's high-speed Internet expansion project while living in Colorado. The state is on pace to spend another $329,000 for the consultant's services this year. The state didn't start paying the Denver-based consultant, Perry Rios, through a contract with Verizon until February 2011, even though the state Office of Technology approved Rios' contract in July 2010. He began work on the statewide broadband project two months later.
Amusingly, the paper notes that Perry Rios, the man being paid $512,000 a year to head the project manager for the state's broadband expansion, isn't alone in holding that title. Frontier Communications is also paying someone (with stimulus funds) to hold the exact same title.

All of this might be funny if West Virginia wasn't still a broadband backwater, or if Verizon didn't have such a long and illustrious history of contributing to the state's broadband woes. The state has virtually no residential competition after Verizon sold off their assets in the state to Frontier, after years of neglecting the unwanted customers and infrastructure. They're also the worst in the country in terms of a disconnected populace, with recent FCC data showing that 46 percent of the state's residents don't have access to broadband. The one-two punch of a predatory Verizon and an incompetent and/or corrupt state leadership doesn't appear to be helping matters, despite the stimulus plan's good intentions.

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gower2352

join:2012-11-26
Laurel, MD

1 recommendation

Craziness

I live in West Virginia and this stuff does appall me. Shentel who is a fairly large provider here seems to be having no problem rolling out broadband to rural areas like Lewis County. In fact they offer speeds 5x faster than Frontier.

Frontier is simply a joke no matter how you look at it. They are not serving West Virginians interests and why is a guy in Colorado managing broadband rollout in West Virginia? There needs to be some accountability here and someone needs to be held responsible for this craziness.

FFH
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

1 recommendation

Broadband Stimulus plan was political payola

The Broadband Stimulus plan really had only 1 purpose - flood the country with money to help juice the economy. It never was about actually improving anything. Most of that money was also funneled to politically connected people as payoffs for political contributions. Though I must admit that the West Virginia situation is one of the most blatant examples.
--
A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasury.
john_fla

join:2002-09-10
Gainesville, FL

Re: Broadband Stimulus plan was political payola

Who are the "politically connected...as payoffs for political contributions" in WVA. Are there many 1%'ers there, especially democratic ones?

FFH
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

Re: Broadband Stimulus plan was political payola

said by john_fla:

Who are the "politically connected...as payoffs for political contributions" in WVA. Are there many 1%'ers there, especially democratic ones?

You mean besides Verizon ? How about Jay Rockefeller & Joe Manchin.
--
A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasury.

Kommie
Premium
join:2003-05-13
united state
kudos:3

When Private meets Public

This is what happens when the state outsources to a private company/enterprise. If they kept it public they could of paid someone 60k to do the same job in WV.

n2jtx

join:2001-01-13
Glen Head, NY

1 recommendation

Re: When Private meets Public

said by Kommie:

This is what happens when the state outsources to a private company/enterprise. If they kept it public they could of paid someone 60k to do the same job in WV.

Maybe public in WV but if you tried it in New York, it would be more like $200K base plus overtime, kickbacks (NYC), fully paid benefits and a heavily loaded public pension. The fact is anything involving the government whether done with "public" employees or "private" employees, will involve the taxpayers getting screwed for enormous amounts of money with nothing to show for it.
--
I support the right to keep and arm bears.
CXM_Splicer
Looking at the bigger picture
Premium
join:2011-08-11
NYC
kudos:2

Re: When Private meets Public

Hell, at $200k it is still a savings over what we got from letting Verizon give it to someone! Contrary to your statement, there are actually several community broadband projects running successfully with plenty to show for it.

n2jtx

join:2001-01-13
Glen Head, NY

Re: When Private meets Public

said by CXM_Splicer:

Hell, at $200k it is still a savings over what we got from letting Verizon give it to someone!

How do you figure? The way pensions are doled out here, we would keep paying that person until they and their family were all deceased. Any initial savings would be more than offset by future payments to the pension system.
--
I support the right to keep and arm bears.
CXM_Splicer
Looking at the bigger picture
Premium
join:2011-08-11
NYC
kudos:2

Re: When Private meets Public

So then why have the pension systems worked fine up until the point where tax revenues took a hit?

PaulHikeS2

join:2003-03-06
Manchester, NH

Re: When Private meets Public

said by CXM_Splicer:

So then why have the pension systems worked fine up until the point where tax revenues took a hit?

That's just their nature. All Ponzi schemes work fine for a while.
--
Jay: What the @#$% is the internet???
CXM_Splicer
Looking at the bigger picture
Premium
join:2011-08-11
NYC
kudos:2

1 recommendation

Re: When Private meets Public

said by PaulHikeS2:

That's just their nature. All Ponzi schemes work fine for a while.

Yes, as Wall St. Is finding out.

For pensions to be a Ponzi scheme, the new employees would be paying the pensions of the retirees and would require a constantly increasing number of workers... that doesn't happen. The company (or government) pays the pensions as part of the retirees' salary which has been deferred and numbers of workers (in general and federally) is going down, not up.
john_fla

join:2002-09-10
Gainesville, FL
Looks like WVA is geting screwed regardless of the public/private signature!

gower2352

join:2012-11-26
Laurel, MD

Re: When Private meets Public

hahah were always getting screwed lol
tmc8080

join:2004-04-24
Brooklyn, NY
Reviews:
·ooma
·Optimum Online
·Verizon FiOS

$512k

So.. $512k to do WHAT exactly... ?

Prevent competitors from deploying their own services with fiber optics & coax which will be better than rusting copper?

If WV ever needed a reason to get rid of Verizon's state-wide franchise, this would probably make the top of the list..
TBBroadband

join:2012-10-26
Fremont, OH
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse
·MegaPath

Re: $512k

Verizon doesn't have any more though. They may be a CLEC as some ILECs are but that's it. They don't own anything so they're pretty much in the clear as far as the state trying to take their network; which by the way would NOT go over very well and WV would be in more trouble than this.

Dolgan
Premium
join:2005-10-01
Sun Prairie, WI
Reviews:
·Charter

Re: $512k

quote:
They don't own anything so they're pretty much in the clear as far as the state trying to take their network;
Verizon Business retained all of the backhauls that run thru the areas Frontier took over. You are incorrect about Verizon not having a "network" in WV.

NormanS
I gave her time to steal my mind away
Premium,MVM
join:2001-02-14
San Jose, CA
kudos:11
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET
·Pacific Bell - SBC
said by tmc8080:

Prevent competitors from deploying their own services with fiber optics & coax which will be better than rusting copper?

Copper rusts?
--
Norman
~Oh Lord, why have you come
~To Konnyu, with the Lion and the Drum

cdru
Go Colts
Premium,MVM
join:2003-05-14
Fort Wayne, IN
kudos:7

Re: $512k

said by NormanS:

Copper rusts?

The most common definition for rust is iron oxide, but can also mean corrosion on other metals other than iron. As a verb, it can also mean to degenerate with the passage of time with no mention specifically to iron. As an adjective, it can mean inept and slow through lack of practice or old age.

All 3 of those alternate definitions could apply to "rusting copper" although oxidizing, corroding, or more generically deteriorating copper probably would have been better.
tmc8080

join:2004-04-24
Brooklyn, NY
Reviews:
·ooma
·Optimum Online
·Verizon FiOS

Re: $512k

said by cdru:

said by NormanS:

Copper rusts?

The most common definition for rust is iron oxide, but can also mean corrosion on other metals other than iron. As a verb, it can also mean to degenerate with the passage of time with no mention specifically to iron. As an adjective, it can mean inept and slow through lack of practice or old age.

All 3 of those alternate definitions could apply to "rusting copper" although oxidizing, corroding, or more generically deteriorating copper probably would have been better.

They don't generally call those dried up manufacturing states and mining states the "RUST BELT" for nothing.. incumbent industries "SUCK" all the lifeblood out of a geography until it's stone dry and then leave with all the profits... As long as gullible customers think that's okay and keep paying monthly fees to Verizon and do nothing about it.. while elsewhere touting the alleged fastest broadband in the country (erroneously) is the A list of hypocrisy

cdru
Go Colts
Premium,MVM
join:2003-05-14
Fort Wayne, IN
kudos:7

Re: $512k

said by tmc8080:

As long as gullible customers think that's okay and keep paying monthly fees to Verizon and do nothing about it.

In this case, the hourly rate was $200-250 per hour. For consulting/project management fees, that's pretty reasonable and expected based on outsourced software development projects I've seen the contracts for. I'm not saying that Verizon isn't profiting big time, or that the contractors didn't have more billable hours than it should have taken. But both Verizon and the contractors are in the business to make money. And WV came to them. It ultimately is in WV control and if they can't run the project overall costs, that's the state's problem.

Barstow

@earthlink.net

pathetic

This article comes off as hopelessly naive.

First off they keep using quoted term like "project manager" and "network engineer" like those jobs don't exist and some scam is being pulled. Let me enlighten you they are real and a 1000 routers don't just install themselves. Everyone of those sites needs a site survey, possible power and rack work, receiving contacts, install planning, turn up testing and coordination.

This is a hell of a lot of work. It needs a high power PM if it going to get done - as much as the crime beat reporter would like to opine about tech matters. This is in no way a 60K civil servant. Its a 150-200K person and fully burdened that a 250K position. Every year. Hiring a contractor who can start immediately probablly saves the state money verses creating a full time position for this.

And the $22K routers? That was the whole point of the Stimulous program. Shovel money out the door as fast as possible. Yeah the state has a 1000 routers in storage because they were bought years before the sites were ready. That's not Vz's fault - its exactly the way the Porkulous program was designed.
courty3210

join:2004-03-29
Wilmington, DE

Re: pathetic

Agreed, I'm an IT PM at a large company. This is not an easy task, takes a long time, and a high caliber plan. WV needed to use the budget whether they were ready to install or not.
civicturbo

join:2009-11-08
USA
Reviews:
·MetConnect

Wow

Christ, makes me real proud to have a job and get 30% of it Stolen from me every pay check by the shitheads who run our country! I'll pay something for roads I drive on and things REAL like that but this really pisses everyone off who makes a effort to get and hold a job in this crap economy. May as well go back to school and apply for food stamps!
And don't even get me started on using our men and women as the International Police. I call if National Offensive because it certainly goes WAY over defense. "Why is the no money for schools but there is ALLWAYS money for war?"
longgone

join:2000-12-30
Culloden, WV

Re: Wow

Because War is and always has been the biggest racket around.

EGeezer
zichrona livracha
Premium
join:2002-08-04
Midwest
kudos:8

Qualifications

If Rios's LinkedIn profile is any indication, his qualifications are less than superlative...
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Buckle Up. It makes it harder for the aliens to suck you out of your car.