West Virginia Buries Study on How They Screwed up Broadband
Didn't Want to 'Embarrass' Anyone Further
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 over the past year, state leaders doled out most of that money to Verizon, Cisco and Fairpoint, who convinced corrupt and/or incompetent state officials to spend it on ridiculously overpriced, overpowered and unused routers
, and several ridiculously overpaid consultants who haven't actually accomplished anything
Gazette reporter Eric Eyre has done a great job digging through the state's incompetence and/or corruption, triggering a state investigation. One resulting audit
(pdf) found that Cisco and Verizon made out like bandits due to dysfunctional and/or corrupt state lawmakers blocking anybody else from bidding on services. More recently, the state paid another outside consultant $118,000 to review what the state did wrong. Eyre filed a FOIA request, but the state says they won't release the findings
because they could be "embarrassing":
"The documents may be embarrassing to some people . . . . Embarrassing because it was someone's opinion," Burdette said. "It was a specific document, citing specific companies, and making very specific suggestions to me." "It was part of a discussion. It did not result in an end product," Burdette said. "There's some criticism of the players in there that I don't accept."..."There's not a word in there about the actions of the administration," Burdette said. "It's not about exposing anything we did."
If the government themselves isn't worried about being embarrassed (any further), they're likely worried about their campaign-contributing partners in the cock up: Cisco, Verizon and Frontier Communications. Instead of fixing the problems highlighted by the consultant, State Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette decided to ignore the report because he "didn't agree with their assessment." This comes as neither Frontier or the state are willing to tell anyone
where Frontier lines funded by taxpayer money have actually been laid.
The major takeaway from this? If you want consulting work tied to phantom budgets with no spending accountability and a delicious layer of dubious ethics, West Virginia is the place to go.
Re: Didn't think it was legal... It isn't, but there isn't any kind of penalty if the state loses in court other than having to release the report. So they really lose nothing by stonewalling.
And this is exactly why sites like Wikileaks are valuable Situations like this are exactly why we need sites like Wikileaks. Can the state find some sort of legal cover to keep this report secret? Possibly, especially since governments usually get to write the laws they're regulated under. Should they be able to hide it? Not if what they're trying to do is protect someone from embarrassment. If you screwed up, or worse, did something illegal, you deserve to be exposed. And sometimes, the only way to accomplish that is for someone to leak the documents to the public.
And in case anyone says that, no, all we need are for people to leak these documents to the media, sure, that'd be fine, provided the news media would DO ITS FUCKING JOB and actually report on things other than which celebrities went into rehab last week. When the BBC broke the story last week that it's been discovered that Richard Nixon sabotaged negotiations to end the Vietnam War so he could win the 1968 election, and not one of the big media outlets here mentioned it, that's a pretty good sign that the press isn't doing its job and someone else has to.
Bon Aqua, TN
Re: Like I said before..
said by diablo1892:There is a place for satellite internet, but for ever day home use, it is not.. Especially if your not in an actual "remote" area....
We got HughesNet available here and a couple other providers by satellite and thats better than having no provider available at all.