Botched purchases of routers

The Inter-Mountain, Elkins, W.Va.: At long last, West Virginia state government is admitting the purchase of about $24 million worth of computer network routers in 2010 was botched badly.

Well, that’s a start. It remains to be seen whether adequate safeguards will be established to avoid a similar fiasco in the future.

More than 1,000 routers, many of them far more complex and expensive than needed by the public facilities such as libraries for which they were purchased, were bought as part of a federal grant program to expand broadband Internet access in the Mountain State. For many months, several of those involved in the project have insisted the routers were a good idea.

But recently, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin admitted it was not.

Stressing those involved “had noble intentions, appropriate dreams and a good plan,” Tomblin said investigations of the purchase by both state and federal officials “have raised concerns that we must address.”

Tomblin said the state will attempt to work out problems with routers already purchased and will develop a plan to avoid similar errors in the future.

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