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West Virginia Buys $22K Routers With Stimulus, Puts Them In Small Schools 295

Posted by Soulskill
from the your-tax-dollars-at-work dept.
DesScorp writes "The Charleston Gazette is reporting that the state of West Virginia has purchased hundred of enterprise class routers from Cisco at over $22,000 dollars apiece via federal stimulus money. The stimulus cash was intended to spread broadband coverage. The problem is that the routers are overkill, and are being placed in small schools and libraries with just a handful of users. The West Virginia Office of Technology warned that the purchase was 'grossly oversized' for the intended uses, but the purchase went through anyway. Curiously, the project is being headed up not by the state's usual authorities on such matters, but by Jimmy Gianato, West Virginia's Homeland Security Chief. In addition to the $24 million contract signed with Verizon Network Integration to provide the routers and maintenance, Gianato asked for additional equipment and services that tacked an additional $2.26 million to the bill. Perhaps the worst part is that hundreds of the routers are sitting in their boxes, unused, two years after the purchase."
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West Virginia Buys $22K Routers With Stimulus, Puts Them In Small Schools

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  • Spending Problems (Score:5, Insightful)

    by neonv (803374) on Friday May 11, 2012 @03:55PM (#39971869)

    This is a problem with asking people to find a purpose for a pile of money rather than having a purpose and asking for funds.

  • Because ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PPH (736903) on Friday May 11, 2012 @03:56PM (#39971897)

    ... TSA/HomelandSecurity/Patriot Act is all about transfering public funds to private contractors.

    hundreds of the routers are sitting in their boxes, unused, two years after the purchase.

    But they were purchased. Mission accomplished (to borrow a slogan).

  • Accountability (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Friday May 11, 2012 @04:00PM (#39971965) Journal

    The West Virginia Office of Technology warned that the purchase was 'grossly oversized' for the intended uses, but the purchase went through anyway.

    Ok, so how do we hold the people who authorized these purchases accountable? Why isn't this considered fraud?

  • by gl4ss (559668) on Friday May 11, 2012 @04:01PM (#39971989) Homepage Journal

    cisco will sell you as expensive router as you're willing to pay for. there's no upper limit.

    of course those routers do actually nothing for spreading broadband coverage.. washington should slap them for misusing the funds.

    "Looking at how technology evolves, we wanted something that was scalable, expandable and viable, five to 10 years out. We wanted to make sure every place had the same opportunity across the state." - fucking dimwits. 22k in it equipment budget spread over 10 years would have done wonders to some libraries and schools. buying 22k routers without immediate use for them -if one actually had looked at how technology evolves- is stupid.

  • oblig bank analogy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 11, 2012 @04:12PM (#39972153)

    sounds an awful lot like the ATM tech who went to prison a yr or so ago for replacing real $ w/counterfeit while all the wall st executives who replaced real $ w/securities they knew couldn't possibly generate the required cash-flow over their life who've not only not been indicted but have gotten to keep all their comp for their "performance"

  • by jythie (914043) on Friday May 11, 2012 @04:12PM (#39972155)
    Because then people scream 'communism' and rewrite history to pretend that the regulation that resulted in everyone having phone access didn't work and didn't provide a massive economic boost to the country.

    Though it would be far form 'instant', a massive amount of infrastructure needs to be built, but there is a game theory element to it where telcos are generally hoping one of their competitors makes the investment instead.
  • by HellKnite (266374) on Friday May 11, 2012 @04:15PM (#39972199)

    While both of your points can be valid depending on the situation, I think it's stepping around the key point of the article. It doesn't really matter whether you choose a slightly less expensive Juniper system or if you home brew something, if at the end of the day you spec out a $15,000 server to host that router distribution, you're still paying *way* too much for routing services at a site that hosts less than 10 devices.

    I've dealt with the exact same challenges that this Gianato says he was trying to avoid by simply buying the same model for everywhere. It's a ludicrous strategy, especially when choosing the 3945 as your standard. Using 1900 series Cisco gear would still be overkill for most of these sites, and would cost 10%.

    Finally - it seems to me like the government is paying full list for their gear. Even small businesses get SOME discount from Cisco and their resellers, who the hell actually pays list? We're not even a big shop and our discount is at least 30-40% depending on what we're purchasing.

    Pretty sad, really.

  • by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris@nOsPAm.beau.org> on Friday May 11, 2012 @04:18PM (#39972269)

    And that was the purpose of Porkulus. To piss away the better part of a Trillion dollars in the belief that just throwing such a huge sack of cash at the economy would somehow fix things. Of course it failed. But does anyone on the left admit that? Sure! Idiots like Paul Krugman insist that it failed because they didn't flush twice as much money down a rathole and that it isn't too late to flush some more.

    Of course all too much of it would up taking backroads into the pockets of politically connected/favored people and organizations. And that was the actual goal.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 11, 2012 @04:37PM (#39972599)

    Like most senile conservatards, he got agitated about something on AM radio and misremembered all the details.

    He's either referring to California High Speed rail (first segment in the Central Valley) or DesertXpress (connecting Las Vegas and Victorville CA).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 11, 2012 @04:52PM (#39972833)
    Yes Cisco is the best for routing equipment, there is no denying that. My big problem is which Cisco equipment they chose to buy. 3945s are edge routers and have the price tag to match. They could have easily gone with 1921 or even an ASA 5505 for 10% of the cost and still had the reliability provided by Cisco gear.
  • by denobug (753200) on Friday May 11, 2012 @05:14PM (#39973135)

    Washington should keep its mouth shut, since this is an in-state affair.

    People seem to sadly forget the 10th amendment and that there are matters that the fed has no say in.

    Not if you are using federal funding. The hand that feeds you always has a say on how to use the money (or not giving you any). I'm sure there is clause in accepting the funding to not abuse or mis-appropriate it.

  • by kaladorn (514293) on Friday May 11, 2012 @06:20PM (#39973935) Homepage Journal
    The government is the only place I can think of where the people who spend the money are the same people who can arbitarily decide how much to take from their customers (taxpayers) without any recourse.

    Of course, in such a system, such abuses are going to transpire regularly.

    A more interesting question I haven't seen asked: Is it possible DHS asked for more pricey equipment and that the schools complied because the higher-end units implement more of the latest monitoring and security support? CALEA and other such measures.

    Some of the cheaper units may not allow DHS to tap or to disable systems as easily or quickly. Each newer generation seems to add more of this sort of capability to the switches.

    (I can't speak authoritatively to broadband switches, but I can speak to cellphone networks and their policy enforcement and AAA services, where this sort of thing is definitely always getting more capable without much public fanfare).

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