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Investigation Begins Into West Virginia's Broadband Incompetence
Overpriced Routers, Overpaid Consultants, Verizon's Fingerprints
by Karl Bode 09:07AM Thursday Dec 13 2012
West Virginia is one of the worst connected states in the nation, something that was supposed to be helped by a $126.3-million federal stimulus grant intended to improve state broadband. Instead, as a series of excellent reports in the Charleston Gazette have illustrated this year, state leaders doled out most of that money to Verizon, who convinced the (either corrupt or totally incompetent) state officials to spend it on ridiculously overpriced, overpowered and unused routers, and ridiculously overpaid consultants who haven't actually accomplished anything.

Now the Gazette notes that The West Virginia Legislative Auditor is at least investigating the ridiculous spending on routers ($22,000 each), trying to figure out who recommended them (Verizon) and why state leaders signed off on it:
quote:
West Virginia State Police, for instance, can't use 70 routers assigned to detachments because the devices aren't compatible with the agency's voicemail system. Also, more than 160 libraries have declined to hook up the routers to a new high-speed fiber-optic network because the state Library Commission can't afford to pay for faster Internet service. An additional 175 routers remain boxed up in storage - more than two years after they were purchased.
It's particularly unfortunate given the fact that the funds really could have helped a state that drastically needs broadband infrastructure improvement. It's also rather disgusting that Verizon's playing a starring role in all of this, given that a large portion of the state's broadband woes can be attributed to the telco, who for the last decade neglected state infrastructure before ultimately unloading it to Frontier Communications. Now they're providing the kind of "help" the under-connected state residents could probably do without.

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Premium
join:2009-04-29
Parkville, MD

Just take 2 routers and call me in the morning

You don't just buy a bunch of expensive equipment and then sprinkle pixie dust. You need competent technical staff at every level that understands the specific problem to be solved and the best option for solving it. Were there technical liaisons on West Virgina's side that could interface between the government and Verizon? Were there IT staff further down that could communicate with these liaisons to say that the equipment being ordered is inappropriate? Perhaps too many IT staff were shown the door and WV is the victim of over outsourcing? Unfortunately you can't always trust your outside contractors.

diablo1892
R.I.P. Donald Lee Wise

join:2011-04-21
Friendly, WV
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Frontier Communi..
·HughesNet Satell..

West Virginia is one of the worst connected states.

It is and it ain't gonna get no way better.. I have HughesNet satellite right now and had it for going onto 8 years. I tried calling up the providers thats being offered near to us but they say it does something with the sub station below my house, they say upgrades will cost $20 K or maybe even $30 K depending on the damage and how much the server upgrades to it cost. Thats okey, Verizon and frontier and suddenlink we will just keep paying our money to Hughes.
--
HT1000/ BeamID 32/ Power Max plan/ 4 pcs on a D-Link wired router/ wireless D-Link router with password
Support only the gaming company's that matter the most, pay for something that actually is worth buying or has a good reason for how much it's worth.

bbeesley
VIP
join:2003-08-07
Richardson, TX
kudos:5

1 recommendation

Exemplifying Government

West Virginia is a shining example of why we don't want the Government at the helm of broadband expansion.

That there was incompetence, corruption and a feckless outcome could have been historically predicted

jester121
Premium
join:2003-08-09
Lake Zurich, IL

1 recommendation

Re: Exemplifying Government

said by bbeesley:

West Virginia is a shining example of why we don't want the Government at the helm of broadband expansion.

That there was incompetence, corruption and a feckless outcome could have been historically predicted

Exactly right -- and the problem with these federal grants is that they come with expiration dates, so agencies just hurry up and spend the money so they don't lose it, without taking time to properly manage the project.
sk1939
Premium
join:2010-10-23
Mclean, VA
kudos:10
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US
·Verizon FiOS

Re: Exemplifying Government

said by jester121:

said by bbeesley:

West Virginia is a shining example of why we don't want the Government at the helm of broadband expansion.

That there was incompetence, corruption and a feckless outcome could have been historically predicted

Exactly right -- and the problem with these federal grants is that they come with expiration dates, so agencies just hurry up and spend the money so they don't lose it, without taking time to properly manage the project.

Maryland has made the most of their federal grant, and quite a few of the counties are within a year or two of bringing the fiber rings online.
shrraga

join:2012-07-22
Because a really stupid, republican/ conservative/ evangelical red state cannot manage broadband does not mean others cannot. Vermont is rolling out a fiber network through the middle of the state, paid sovernet communications to handle it, and it seems to be coming along great. 'Course, home users will not get direct connections to the fiber, but it will allow for private business to easily expand services (fairpoint even recently gave us a free upgrade up a tier)

bbeesley
VIP
join:2003-08-07
Richardson, TX
kudos:5

Re: Exemplifying Government

said by shrraga:

Because a really stupid, republican/ conservative/ evangelical red state cannot manage broadband

<sarcasm>

wow! thanks for identifying the crux of the issue that Republicans, conservatives and evangelicals don't have the good sense to effectively get broadband to the masses.

I guess we should just let Democrats, liberals and atheists manage broadband policy and everything will magically clear up?

</sarcasm>

Governments will always be fraught with corruptive and disruptive influence as long as regulators have an accountability to please those who got them elected and this is universal across all ideologies.
fenix_jn

join:2006-12-28
Miami, FL

Re: Exemplifying Government

Blue... you forgot, blue
hoyleysox
Premium
join:2003-11-07
Long Beach, CA

Investigation is throwing good $ after bad

The West Virginia Legislative Auditor wants to know who signed off on the state's decision to buy $24 million in Internet routers with federal stimulus funds and how the purchase benefited taxpayers.

Legislative Auditor Aaron Allred has given Homeland Security director Jimmy Gianato until Dec. 21 to answer 16 questions and nine informational requests about the state's use of a $126.3-million federal stimulus grant designed to expand high-speed Internet in West Virginia.
...
At Tuesday's meeting, state lawmakers also questioned whether the state would finish the broadband expansion project by the federal government's Jan. 31 deadline. The state has to complete the project by then, or risk losing any unspent funds.
...
Williams also asked why the state was spending $50 million -- $20 million more than budgeted -- of the stimulus grant to upgrade a wireless tower network used for emergency communications.

The article mentions nothing about VZ. The state politicians are trying to abdicate their responsibility for the fiasco by blaming the feds for their over budget, behind schedule "project." I use the term "project" loosely because there is apparently no planning or accountability at the state level, hence this investigation. Next will come the drawn-out lawsuits that are really an attempt by state officials to save face

I'm not holding my breath for an audit about how effective stimulus the rest of the $800+ billion in stimulus $ was spent.

FFH5
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

Re: Investigation is throwing good $ after bad

said by hoyleysox:

I'm not holding my breath for an audit about how effective stimulus the rest of the $800+ billion in stimulus $ was spent.

The broadband stimulus pgm was never meant to improve broadband. It was meant to goose the economy and also act as political payoffs by sprinkling money around to friends of pols.
retired17
Premium
join:2007-01-24
Anaheim, CA

need higher paid people

You all forgot to mention that we need to offer million dollar salaries so that we attract the best qualified people possible. At least that what government and big corporations say to qualify their huge huge salaries.

meeeeeeeeee

join:2003-07-13
Newburgh, NY

Sadly

The biggest and most organized crime syndicate in the US is Government, from town hall, all the way to Washington. Unfortunately for us taxpayers, there is no one to investigate and prosecute them.
--
Isn't it sad that those that raise their right hand and swear "to support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America" are usually the ones most likely to trash it.

cork1958
Cork
Premium
join:2000-02-26

Re: Sadly

said by meeeeeeeeee:

The biggest and most organized crime syndicate in the US is Government, from town hall, all the way to Washington. Unfortunately for us taxpayers, there is no one to investigate and prosecute them.

You know it!!

I sure wish some on out there would investigate every single member of every single official office and see how many we can bust! I know that's impossible, but even if we just investigated the officials in Washington, I bet we could get rid of over half of them, and that's being VERY lenient!
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Bill Neilson
Premium
join:2009-07-08
Arlington, VA

I just don't understand why we don't

just ditch any and all regulations and let Verizon and AT&T do whatever they want, whenever they want, and however they want.

Then, the consumer wins!

linicx
Caveat Emptor
Premium
join:2002-12-03
United State
Reviews:
·TracFone Wireless
·CenturyLink

Nothing new or exciting

Verizon has played the lobby and dump game all over America as did Cox, AT&T, and the others.

There are no laws or punitive damages for any rogue company. The big bully companies that buy what they want and charge what they please should have city mandated leash laws.

The is why there is NO competition anywhere in America except perhaps in the 5 Alpha cities.
--
Mac: No windows, No Gates, Apple inside
tmc8080

join:2004-04-24
Brooklyn, NY

might as well go 2 for 2

+1 for North Carolina

Touc

@charter.com

Re: might as well go 2 for 2

What?
sk1939
Premium
join:2010-10-23
Mclean, VA
kudos:10
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US
·Verizon FiOS

Overpriced Not Overpowered

From looking at the images, the routers are either Cisco 3925s, 3945s, or 3945E's. That means that they can handle between 1 and 10 gigs of traffic apiece, not really "overkill" these days, especially for broadband heavy installations like hospitals, libraries, and schools. Gross mismanagement of a the project though, clearly.

tubbynet
reminds me of the danse russe
Premium,MVM
join:2008-01-16
Chandler, AZ
kudos:1

Re: Overpriced Not Overpowered

said by sk1939:

From looking at the images, the routers are either Cisco 3925s, 3945s, or 3945E's. That means that they can handle between 1 and 10 gigs of traffic apiece

please. no more than a couple hundred megs on the 3945e with no services.

q.
--
"...if I in my north room dance naked, grotesquely before my mirror waving my shirt round my head and singing softly to myself..."
sk1939
Premium
join:2010-10-23
Mclean, VA
kudos:10
Reviews:
·T-Mobile US
·Verizon FiOS

Re: Overpriced Not Overpowered

said by tubbynet:

said by sk1939:

From looking at the images, the routers are either Cisco 3925s, 3945s, or 3945E's. That means that they can handle between 1 and 10 gigs of traffic apiece

please. no more than a couple hundred megs on the 3945e with no services.

q.

True, in practice, although the router performance table says otherwise. I do know a number of companies that have put them in for gigabit connections, strictly routing though.

tubbynet
reminds me of the danse russe
Premium,MVM
join:2008-01-16
Chandler, AZ
kudos:1

Re: Overpriced Not Overpowered

said by sk1939:

True, in practice, although the router performance table says otherwise. I do know a number of companies that have put them in for gigabit connections, strictly routing though.

routerperformance.pdf uses 64-byte packets to determine throughput. the important number is taking pps and multiply by (ideally) 1500bytes or (realistically) the standard imix rule of ((1500+64)/2).
the companies that put them in may have gigabit 'handoffs' -- but the router in no way will push 1gbe of traffic. isr-g2 are software driven platforms -- so *anything* on the router will have to be cpu-driven.
for 1gbe applications -- you'll need to jump to an asr1000-series, an old 7206vxr/npe-g2, or some hardware-based routing platforms (i.e. multilayer switch).

q.
--
"...if I in my north room dance naked, grotesquely before my mirror waving my shirt round my head and singing softly to myself..."
elray

join:2000-12-16
Santa Monica, CA

Just another example

Of why the government should let people keep their hard-earned money, and choose for themselves how to spend it, rather than meddling in the marketplace playing Santa Claus.