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Consultant critical of W.Va. Internet project

Mar. 22, 2013 @ 06:28 AM

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A consultant hired by the Tomblin administration concludes that state officials used tens of millions of dollars in federal stimulus funds to help Frontier Communications build a fragmented high-speed Internet network that solely benefits the company.

The Charleston Gazette (http://bit.ly/103lo5z) reported on the findings Friday, citing a confidential report it obtained.

The report by ICF International examines the $126.3 million statewide broadband expansion project. The report concludes the project created an “unintended monopoly” for Frontier.

ICF also found that the project has “no practical use for the public or competition.”

The state is using $40 million of the stimulus funds to pay Frontier to install more than 500 miles of fiber-optic cable statewide.

In response, Frontier called the report “worthless.”

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