Illinois Wants Gigabit Squared to Return $2 Million Grant
After making a lot of noise and getting a lot of press last year about their ability to help cities improve penetration of 1 Gbps connections, Gigabit Squared
turned out to be a bit of a pipe dream in Seattle. The city's partnership with Seattle -- and in turn their effort to build a 1 Gbps fiber network -- went up in smoke after the city complained that GigaBit Squared owed the city $52,250 but hadn't managed to actually do much of any work
The problems resulted in the resignation of a high-level Gigabit Squared executive, and now it appears the company is running into similar problems in Chicago. According to the Chicago Sun Times
, the state is now trying to get $2 million in grant money back from the company, while accusing it of "lying repeatedly” about where and how the money was actually spent.
Gigabit Squared's response is much like its response to the problems it encountered in Seattle. Namely, to insist that nothing's wrong:
"Gigabit Squared’s new leadership team has a proactive, open, and honest dialoague (sic) with the State of Illinois to move towards a positive resolution of the project. This has included access to the company, its records, leadership, and meeting every deadline provided as part of the State’s normal review process.
“We are particularly puzzled by the comments regarding our delaying the process which is contrary to both verbal and written comments from the State indicating its appreciation for our openness and cooperation during this process," the statement said.
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, in contrast, says that Gigabit Squared only used $250,000 of the funds for "legitimate purposes" -- and that the company has failed repeatedly to disclose funding details.