Schools' High-Speed Installation Going Slo-Mo

By Amy Julia Harris


CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A $126.3 million federal stimulus grant to provide high-speed Internet to hundreds of schools and other public facilities throughout West Virginia is far behind the timeline state education officials had envisioned and is hitting implementation snags, state Board of Education officials learned Wednesday.

Board members said that more than two years after West Virginia received the grant, there was still confusion about how many schools could actually connect to a high-speed Internet network.

They also expressed growing frustration with the quality of service and lack of communication provided by Frontier Communications, a major contractor in the project.

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Now, state officials are saying schools got it all wrong.

What the $126 million dollar grant does is run fiber-optic cable to or near 1000 school and "other community institutions," but not hook them up. They will have have to do that on their own by getting a provider.

The state development team told the Charleston Daily Mail it is equally confident it is not responsible for ensuring those places actually get connected.

John Dunlap, a manager with the West Virginia Office of Technology, explained to the State Board they are responsible for making sure the fiber optic cables that run to a school and the infrastructure within will give its occupants an opportunity to access the Internet.

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