Tuesday, May 15, 2012
West Virginia officials have had a particularly tough time putting federal stimulus funding to work when attempting to revitalize the technology infrastructure of the state's public school system. But according to the West Virginia Gazette, delays related to Internet router installation will not affect the timetable for a key fiber optic deployment project being led by Frontier Communications.
Although local citizens and school administrators were initially worried that unexpected complications with router acquisition and installation could pose larger problems, Frontier engineer Mark McKenzie recently came forward to allay those concerns.
"Frontier does not have a role in router deployment. [Router issues] will not impact the construction of fiber," McKenzie told the Gazette.
State school board president Wade Linger is one of several stakeholders breathing a sigh of relief after receiving the news. According to the news source, Linger's administration has been coming under fire of late as more reports suggesting that officials have been dragging their feet on router installations emerge.
Nearly two years after the hardware was purchased with $24 million in stimulus funding, more than 300 devices remain in storage today. Part of the problem may be a misalignment of purchasing priorities, according to the Gazette, considering the routers were initially designed to serve large hospital and college campuses, but will be installed primarily in small local schools and health clinics.
Nevertheless, Frontier is moving forward with its plans and hoping the complementary details sort themselves out over time. According to the Charleston Daily Mail, approximately 120 miles of fiber has been delivered to K-12 schools across West Virginia to date. However, nearly 470 schools will need to be served before the project is ultimately completed.
"The good news is we're right on track with completing this middle-mile build on schedule," McKenzie told reporters.
For nearly 200 schools, Frontier's intervention comes with the promise of all new fiber optic lines. And according to the newspaper, less than 30 of these schools will be forced to wait until the requisite routers are in place, giving engineers plenty of areas to work on in the interim.
While local citizens may wish router deployment was being conducted with the same efficiency as Frontier's end of the bargain, school officials contend that there is still more smoke than fire in this controversy. Linger assured reporters that the vast majority of router still sitting on shelves were not even tagged for deployment in local schools, but rather hospital and community centers.
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