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West Virginia Won't Release Broadband Report Because It Is 'Embarrassing' 183

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-just-bet-it-is dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Charleston Gazette is reporting that the state of West Virginia hired a consulting firm for over $100,000 to investigate the state's use of Federal stimulus money (which included the purchase of $22,000 routers for tiny buildings). Unfortunately, the state government is now refusing a FOIA request to release the firm's report. The reason? The findings 'might be embarrassing to some people,' according to Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette."
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West Virginia Won't Release Broadband Report Because It Is 'Embarrassing'

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  • Typo in summary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by olsmeister (1488789) on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @09:24PM (#43220141)
    Replace the word 'embarassing' with 'incriminating'.
    • Re:Typo in summary (Score:5, Insightful)

      by v1 (525388) on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @09:58PM (#43220361) Homepage Journal

      Replace the word 'embarassing' with 'incriminating'.

      Possibly, but not necessarily, or at least, not primarily. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is the one witholding the information. He's an elected official whose job is probably more to collect campaign contributions than to actually serve the public.

      He very likely discussed the content of that report with the "parties" he is protecting, and was told exactly where he wasn't going to be receiving any more money from if that evaluation wasn't buried. He's probably very well aware that it's going to get pried out of his hands and plastered on page 1 eventually, but this will at least give him a "but I tried to stop it!" when those parties blow up his phone, and he's hoping this will at least do a little damage control.

      But things like that can turn and bite you. This may be a very big thorn in his side, come election day. Depending on how close the competition is, his opposition may drag this issue back above ground for a month of mud slinging. But money can really help to bury things. Depends on how much he can throw at it, and how deep it needs to go.

      "Never give a man a gun unless you know where he's going to point it." Same goes for inviting in a team of investigators to get to the bottom of any mess you are even remotely related to. You'd better either make sure you're squeaky clean, or make sure their opinion is already properly paid for.

    • Re:Typo in summary (Score:5, Interesting)

      by AlphaWolf_HK (692722) on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @10:39PM (#43220565)

      There was a previous Slashdot article blaming this incident on Cisco, and even though I don't work for Cisco, I want to cut the bs and set the record straight. Let me do so by quoting the words of the main politician behind this project

      West Virginia Homeland Security chief Jimmy Gianato, who's leading the state broadband project, defended the $24 million router purchase last week, saying the devices "could meet many different needs and be used for multiple applications."

      "Our main concerns were to not have something that would become obsolete in a couple of years," Gianato said. "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."

      So we have this asshole behind this mess, but the mass media blames Cisco and Verizon. There's more:

      Verizon spokesman Keith Irland said the company simply responded to router specifications detailed in the state's bid posting.

      "They specified the equipment they wanted," Irland said. "That's what they requested, that's what we bid on. We had the lowest price, and we won the bid for the equipment and related maintenance."

      The Gazette-Mail contacted two Cisco sales agents last week, asking whether the 3945 series routers were appropriate for schools and libraries.

      "The 3945 is our router solution for campus and large enterprises, so this is overkill for your network," a Cisco representative responded.

      The sales agents recommended a smaller router -- with a list price of $487.

      State Department of Education officials questioned the size of the routers before Gianato and the Office of Technology executed the $24 million purchase order.

      http://www.wvgazette.com/News/201205050057 [wvgazette.com]

      Other than manufacturing the equipment, Cisco had nothing to do with this project. They weren't even involved in the sales. So clearly corrupt corporations are to blame, not the poor innocent politicians. Oh and did I mention that he was commended for this later?

      • Re:Typo in summary (Score:5, Interesting)

        by YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @05:07AM (#43221927) Homepage

        "West Virginia Homeland Security chief Jimmy Gianato, who's leading the state broadband project"

        Forgive me my ignorance, but why is the chief of Homeland Security leading a broadband project? Isn't that kind of ... weird?

        Makes one wonder what the exact relation between homeland security and broadband is ... and what ulterior motives this man Gianato is hiding.

      • by khallow (566160)

        So we have this asshole behind this mess, but the mass media blames Cisco and Verizon.

        So these businesses picked up $24 million in some really shifty, probably high margin business and you aren't at all curious how they happened to get it? There's a kickback somewhere in there.

        • by Rich0 (548339)

          That is one possible reason. The other is budget politics. The more money you spend, the more money you can spend on more discretionary things. If your entire budget is $500k/yr and you're spending 95% of that on salaries then chances are that you can't afford to take your team out for a fact-finding trip to Hawaii. On the other hand, if on top of your staff you are forking out $100M annually to suppliers then spending $100k to do some due diligence in Hawaii is a lot easier.

          And so on...

    • I found a different typo: delete the words "won't release broadband report because it" and you have the correct summary.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @09:28PM (#43220173)

    This is a good example of what we'll lose if and when big city daily papers go under, and are replaced by national/international news outfits with makeshift and/or crowdsourced local staffs.

    • by DigiShaman (671371) on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @10:16PM (#43220463) Homepage

      That's all well and good. However, you don't want the local city/state funding said local press/paper. Conflict of interest and all that. Would you trust them if there was a financial connection? Political connections are bad enough with the press, but understandably unavoidable. Don't make it worse.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Sloppy (14984)

        It's all well and good to be against shredding live puppies, but do we really want to bring back the Nazi party in order to use it to protect the puppies? I mean, I think we can agree that would be worse, right? Right?!?

      • Public funding for media is only a problem when it is discretionary. Just make it a dedicated tax with a fixed rate and with all proceeds going directly to the paper. Sure, the legislature can still repeal such a tax, but at least they'd have to do so in a very public way that would be certain to generate huge negative publicity.

        • Right... And when politicians threatens to repeal the funding? I'm sorry, but this is still a bad idea. The press will never bite the hand that feeds! And of all things we need the press to keep an eye on, our own government ranks as the most important. And they need to do so with no strings attached.

          • This is addressed in the comment you were replying to. It's not easy to remove such funding - it would require an open vote in the parliament, which is not something that can be done in an instant - and the press would have plenty of time before it actually happens to drag the involved politicians in the muck in front of the electorate.

            See BBC in UK for an example of how this works in practice.

        • It won't be done publicly. You haven't been paying attention. The lawmakers (or their surrogates, the regulators) will get to write the regulations that determine just what is a "legitimate news organization" and is therefore eligible for the subsidy. If you publish too many stories that embarrass the powers that be, the regulations will be tweaked and you will lose your funding. The same issue exists with public financing of elections (aka welfare for politicians) as those in power write the regulations th
          • You missed the point of the suggestion. It wouldn't be funding for "any legitimate news organization". It would be funding for one particular news organization designated for that purpose, like BBC in UK.

    • by Seumas (6865) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @12:41AM (#43221067)

      We've already lost that. There are hardly any hard-nosed beat-reporters out there. Journalism in 2013 (and for most of the last fifteen years) has consisted of pulling down and repeating the AP feed and rehashing PR faxes.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    So isn't this the purpose of the General Services Administration? To streamline the process of fulfilling the needs of agencies such as these so that this kind of stuff doesn't happen? Let me guess, someone approved a PO and bought the equipment from a friend who sold it to them at a high commission.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @09:32PM (#43220199)

    Just declare all governance an embarrassment and avoid the need for transparency.

    Genius!

    • by Nidi62 (1525137)

      Just declare all governance an embarrassment

      The results of that governance usually are.

  • by v1 (525388) on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @09:36PM (#43220221) Homepage Journal

    how is that even a legal reason to refuse a Freedom of Information request? Last I checked, "we don't want to" isn't an acceptable reason to refuse.

    • by wierd_w (1375923) on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @09:49PM (#43220307)

      I could see a nasty bed of serpents here.

      On one side:

      Releasing the documents without also releasing a lot of priviledged information would paint at least one person with a very broad brush, and with a very unflattering color. This could very likely jeapordize their careers and good names, and thus has defamation suit written all over it. So, denying access to the information to prevent defamation suits seems crooked, but at least potentially plausible, especially if the situation really is the result of onerous BS further up the totem pole, and the person who will get the bad rap for it really had no other recourse. (Again, that is priviledged information about internal policies, and may be proprietary information from a vendor, and thus not safe to release with FOIA documents unredacted. The redacted form is what paints the negative image.)

      On the other hand:

      Allowing a refusal to satisfy a FOIA request on grounds of "embarasment" is not just a slippery slope; it's a freaking crazyslide, made of tefon, leading into a bottomless pit. Embarking down it is "not a good idea(tm)".

      This is one of those cases where you can't make an omlette without breaking some eggs.

      Personally, I think the "best" solution to this intractable condition is to make govt agencies immune to defamation suits pertaining to information released via FOIA. That's also a slippery slope, but considerably less "teflon crazyslide" slippery than permitting arbitrary denials.

      • by wvmarle (1070040)

        How can it be defamation if it is only facts that they release?

        I always thought defamation is related to unsubstantiated allegations against people, usually backed up by only some circumstantial evidence that can be interpreted many ways. But releasing actual facts (and FOIA requests are to gather factual information), that can not be called defamation. It may hurt certain people, it may put them out of their careers, and they will hate it. But defamation? No.

        • by wierd_w (1375923)

          Omission can be just as bad as lying.

          Take for instance, if I write this:

          "If you think I can seriously get these people to vote sensibly, then you must think I am jesus fucking christ."

          And, through the power of omission, you write this as a synopsis:

          "..I can seriously get these people to vote sensibly.. I am jesus fucking christ."

          You are clearly misrepresenting what I actually said, without actually lying. Hence, defamation.

          A FOIA document can only contain information the government is at liberty to disclose

          • by wvmarle (1070040)

            Classified information and open governments don't go well together. People in the government should know that.

            Yet in this case there is quite some embarrassing information out there already, so it should be time for that government to come clean anyway.

            • by wierd_w (1375923)

              It may not necessarily be classified.

              Take for instance, information about how Time Warner cable handles cable deployments and service franchising.

              The state needs to know that, in order to follow the terms of the franchise, but the actual terms of the franchise agreement may forbid disclosure of any such information. A FOIA would thus have lots and lots of blacked out text dealing with the specifics of how these are handled, and how those things have contributed to overhead and wasted taxpayer funds.

              The lac

      • by TubeSteak (669689)

        Releasing the documents without also releasing a lot of priviledged information would paint at least one person with a very broad brush, and with a very unflattering color. This could very likely jeapordize their careers and good names, and thus has defamation suit written all over it.

        Did we read the same article?

        ""It was a specific document, citing specific companies, and making very specific suggestions to me [Commerce Secretary Burdette]."

        However, [Commerce Secretary Burdette] declined to release the report to the newspaper, saying it was an "internal memorandum" that could be withheld under state law.
        ...
        Burdette acknowledged that the exemption doesn't require him to withhold the ICF memo. In other words, he could release the document, even though he believes state law allows him to keep it confidential.

        Translation: one or more contractors pissed away money and the Commerce Secretary & Governor don't want anyone called out for their mismanagement of broadband funds.
        /In the USA, truth is always a defense against defamation

        • by wierd_w (1375923)

          I was referring to a more general condition for how something batshit absurd, like "we won't honor FOIA because it will embarrass somebody." Could have a somewhat reasonable basis, even if only applicable if you wiggle your ass just right, and happen to live in bizzaro world.

          Not specifically in relation to this specific intance, though it still might.

      • by samweber (71605)

        You are forgetting what might be the most likely possibility: that the people that would be embarrassed are the OTHER companies that also bid on the contract. Remember, expensive as it was, the company that got the contract was the LOW bid -- what on earth were the other bids? If you read the article, the Governer's office does explicitly claim that it is not the government that would be embarrassed, and although they could of course be lying, the other bidders certainly look suspicious.

        Usually when there

        • by Hatta (162192)

          Usually when there are bids for a contract, the losing bids are confidential.

          That should be illegal. The public procurement process should be completely transparent. Don't like it? Don't do business with the government.

      • by Hatta (162192)

        No, the best solution is complete transparency. If the facts are defamatory, so be it.

    • by poity (465672) on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @09:58PM (#43220359)

      and embarrassing the government is the whole point of FOIA, so they stop doing things to embarrass themselves.

    • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @10:14PM (#43220449) Homepage Journal

      In some States, it's illegal but there are no penalties for refusing. The "sunshine laws" have "no teeth" a the parlance goes. In other States there are fines or convictions associated, and, surprise, the government complies more often.

    • by c0lo (1497653)
      West Virginia.... where your freedom stops at the threshold of embarrassing the officialdom.
      As the Manning/Wikileaks issue shows, it may not be West Virginia specific.
    • by wvmarle (1070040) on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @11:15PM (#43220733)

      Isn't the very reason this FOIA thing was put together, was to force governments to release information they are reluctant to release for that very reason?

  • by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @09:37PM (#43220237)

    He's making the FOIA lawsuit a complete slam dunk for the EFF, ACLU, or whoever files it.

  • Hmm (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The company that wrote the report for WV, ICF, is the same company that did the evaluations of the broadband stimulus grant and loan applications, and is heading up the auditing of the deployments. If WV is ignoring the foia requests, I would imagine the request could be sent to the Feds since it's their money.

  • by WaywardGeek (1480513) on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @09:38PM (#43220253) Journal

    of a lot of jokes. Yeah, they screwed up... Again. However, most people don't know that West Virgina was part of Virginia up until the Civil War. They believed so strongly in free labor (as opposed to slave labor) that they succeeded from their state. I can forgive them for a lot of crap after that. It's sad seeing them struggle over basic internet access, but I think it's always been a challenge in WV.

    • by Grayhand (2610049) on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @10:04PM (#43220395)

      of a lot of jokes. Yeah, they screwed up... Again. However, most people don't know that West Virgina was part of Virginia up until the Civil War. They believed so strongly in free labor (as opposed to slave labor) that they succeeded from their state. I can forgive them for a lot of crap after that. It's sad seeing them struggle over basic internet access, but I think it's always been a challenge in WV.

      Half of my family came from there and I can say that they are facing huge technical problems. Even cell phone service is spotty. There's very little line of sight in the state due to the mountains so they have to depend on lines. It's hard enough keeping roads passable since they wash out regularly. The coal companies used to help with tax dollars but that's been seen as a drain on corporate profits so the tax base is miserable so there's little money to address critical infrastructure so the internet comes in a very distant second to everything else. It's one of the poorest states as well so few people have computers to begin with. Just to spike the ball corruption is rampant. FYI he's one of the ones that isn't corrupt but my mother's second cousin is Governor so I have connections with the state. Another FYI I got a lot of nasty looks for daring to point out West Virginia was a northern state when I was growing up. Most of my mother's family still considers it part of the south. My guess is when the check showed up some one said "yeah internet routers, please" and put the money into his brother's company that fills pot holes.

      • by tkrotchko (124118)

        Also, West Virginia has a lot of small wirless phone companies that managed to grab the frequencies that were used by the larger carriers resulting in spotty service. They simply didn't invest money in infrastructure, so the citizens of WV were stuck with substandard cell service.

        LTE should improve that since the feds sold those frequencies to big players like Verizion Wireless & AT&T who will likely invest a lot more in cell towers and improve service.

        • by linefeed0 (550967) *

          Verizon sold their (2g/3g, dunno about the 4g stuff) frequencies in half the state (the northern/northeastern half) to US Cellular. Those were B-side (or A-side, i forget which, it's the one originally handed out to incumbent wireline LECs) allocations in the 800 MHz blocks back in the 80s. Bell Atlantic had them, but didn't keep them -- there, or in the western panhandle of Maryland either (and in MD they are wireline ILEC for the entire state, no exceptions). So it's not that they were outbid; they unload

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        My guess is when the check showed up some one said "yeah internet routers, please" and put the money into his brother's company that fills pot holes.

        Could be. We have all the same problems in Northern California. My county is currently involved in a lawsuit with the pavers over malfeasance...

    • by el borak (263323) on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @10:07PM (#43220409)

      I too honor the brave and ethical stance made by the WV leadership 150 years ago. However zero of that honor is conveyed to people simply because they happen to currently inhabit the same geographic area.

    • by gman003 (1693318) on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @10:16PM (#43220461)

      Yes, that's the story that's in the textbooks, at least.

      The reality of the Civil War was a *lot* more complicated. Slavery was only the third or fourth most important issue until Lincoln turned it into the moral justification for the war. Which was a brilliant PR move on his part, since even a century later we're believing in it.

      The #1 reason was the same sort of divisive party politics that continues to this day, with the same party names even. You know what the Republican fringe was saying about Obama during the last elections? That was pretty much what the Democrats were saying about Lincoln, except replace "socialism" with "abolitionism".

      Then there was the whole movement from rural, agriculture-based societies to urban, industrial society. Always a cause for major upheaval. And guess what? East Virginia was mostly agricultural, and West Virginia was mostly coal mines (and thus economically aligned with the Northern cities they fueled).

      Of course there was also the statehood issue. The states, at that time, still had quite a bit more independence than they do now. There had been a delicate balance for years over the slavery issue, trying to make sure that neither side had enough votes to force their own way. Lincoln's election proved that balance was gone - he wasn't even on the ballot in many Southern states.

      Finally was the whole issue of the war. There was a lull between the initial round of secession and the war proper beginning, during which Virginia was still Union. Only when Lincoln began calling up the armies did the rest secede (and West Virginia re-secede, or de-secede or whatever the term is). Even then, some states tried to declare neutrality.

      As for West Virginia, there was one more reason peculiar to them - geography. The two are separated by the Appalachian Mountains, which are a rather significant barrier. I think it's even easier for them to ship coal to New Orleans (via the Mississippi) than to Richmond. When you have such separation, it's somewhat natural for political divisions to occur.

      • by oiron (697563) on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @10:59PM (#43220661) Homepage

        The #1 reason was the same sort of divisive party politics that continues to this day, with the same party names even. You know what the Republican fringe was saying about Obama during the last elections? That was pretty much what the Democrats were saying about Lincoln, except replace "socialism" with "abolitionism".

        Looks to me like it was the south that made slavery the issue on which they opposed Lincoln; divisive politics based on slavery...

        Then there was the whole movement from rural, agriculture-based societies to urban, industrial society. Always a cause for major upheaval. And guess what? East Virginia was mostly agricultural, and West Virginia was mostly coal mines (and thus economically aligned with the Northern cities they fueled).

        Slavery was part of that; industrial societies don't work so well with outright slave labour. Agricultural societies often do - or at least, more primitive ones based on large plantations.

      • by TubeSteak (669689) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @12:20AM (#43221003) Journal

        The reality of the Civil War was a *lot* more complicated. Slavery was only the third or fourth most important issue until Lincoln turned it into the moral justification for the war. Which was a brilliant PR move on his part, since even a century later we're believing in it.

        The difficulty with your version of history is that it is directly contradicted by documents and statements made before and during the Civil War.
        Here are Declarations of Secession [utk.edu] from the four States that decided to explain their reasons

        I could give you an almost endless list of primary sources to dig through,
        but if those declarations aren't convincing, I don't know what else would do it.
        Anyone who says that slavery was not central to the issues of the Civil War is engaging in historical revisionism.

        And, Lincoln didn't really want to end slavery in the South [nytimes.com], his plan was to prevent any new States from having slaves, thus allowing slavery in the South to die out in its own time.

        If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time save Slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy Slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or destroy Slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that.

        Ignore whatever you learned growing up and go straight to the sources.

        • by gmhowell (26755)

          Damnit, 20 mod points last week, and none this week. Was hoping someone would make this reply. Good job.

        • by dkleinsc (563838)

          Thank you!

          We even know, from the historical record, when the "It wasn't about slavery" revisionism started: late 1865. The major figure in starting that effort was Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens, but several other prominent Confederates also were heavily involved in creating the Lost Cause mythology, which included that "not about slavery" lie. By 1890, "The War Between the States" or even "The War of Northern Aggression" was basically the standard version of the Civil War history in many are

      • by techno-vampire (666512) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @02:25AM (#43221419) Homepage
        Slavery was only the third or fourth most important issue,,,

        ...but it was the only one that people weren't willing to compromise on. As an example, the North wanted high tariffs, and the South wanted them low; over the years, they went up and down as different factions got enough power to change them. States Rights and Federal Authority clashed over and over, with varying results, but on Slavery, neither side would budge and eventually, the southern hot-heads got their way and we ended up with the Civil War.
        • by Comrade Ogilvy (1719488) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @07:32AM (#43222569)

          Even you are being to overly generous to the parent. The only

          point Lincoln would not bend on was not allowing slavery into new territories.

          So when the South seceded to pursue their "God given right" to push slavery into new territories, where exactly were these territories going to come from? The CSA was boxed in on the north by the Union, the West by Union owned territories, the south by slave-free Mexican, plus the growing list of slave free nations in the Caribbean.

          The southern states seceded specifically because living in peace was insufficient.

          The CSA was built on a promise of spoils of war. Unless the southern politicians were all liars, there was no logical reason to believe that peace was possible. The CSA offered war, war, war, and more war from the get go. Once the southern started up the shooting and murdering*, raising a Union army was Lincoln's only reasonable option.

          * Yes, murdering. For example, secession was hotly contested in Texas. Dozens of pro-unionists were murdered in broad daylight for voicing their political views. That is hardly the only example.

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      Yes, West Virginia's actions were good in the American Civil War (unless you are pro-slavery, which some staunch modern Republicans apparently are if CPAC is any indication).

      Here are some reasons why I think we can legitimately hate West Virginia now:
      - Large areas of it are run by the feudal lords known as "coal executives".
      - Many of the residents today are quite racist.
      - It's an area of the country that tolerates and even applauds ignorance.
      - It's an area that has been, by all appearances, deliberately hel

    • by 0racle (667029)
      Ya and North Carolina wouldn't join the new United States until a Bill of Rights was codified and accepted but that doesn't change the fact that now they're trying really hard to shit on the rights of some of their people now.

      One act of ethics and morals by people long since dead does not give a State's government free pass to be assholes over 200 years later.
  • Too Bad (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    That's not a legitimate reason to refuse request under FOIA.

    In fact, it's explicitly not a legitimate reason.

  • by Grayhand (2610049) on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @09:50PM (#43220319)
    They asked if "whiskey stills" can be considered internet routers. As soon as their lawyers sober up we should have an answer.
  • Yeah, pretty much. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @10:20PM (#43220475)

    West Virginian here. It is very embarrassing. Unless you live a couple miles away from the interstate, good luck on finding an ISP delivering more than 5 megabits down, if that. If you're one of the lucky ones, 25Mb is the high-falutin', rip-roarin', dad-gum best it gets. My cell phone often gets faster speeds than my cable connection, and your choices there are Comcast, Suddenlink, or Frontier. Huntington was in the running for Google Fiber, and had we won, it could have sparked a sort of a renaissance in this area. But instead we were too afraid of change, too paranoid of the future, too lazy to make a difference.

    Thanks for running this story. Maybe lighting a fire under their ass will encourage them to lay down some fiber. At least I wouldn't have to worry about the internet going out because some methhead is stealing copper down the street.

    • I lived 1 mile from a CO in a major city in NY and could only get 2.4Mbps (down from 4 Mbps) when I had to be switched to a different line after the first one went bad. Join the club WV.

      • by ganjadude (952775)
        Im an hour north of nyc and i am billed at 50/15, top tier is 75/30 but i get regularly between 40/15 with peaks of 60/20 I dont understand why i have better upload speed around here when most i know with the same DL have way lower UL but the speeds are just fine where we are
    • by jkflying (2190798)

      Just because it isn't copper doesn't mean it won't be stolen. I've seen bead necklaces being sold with the string made out of... you guessed it: optic fiber.

    • by khallow (566160)

      Maybe lighting a fire under their ass will encourage them to lay down some fiber.

      If you want it, then lay it down yourself. I have no problem with West Virginia and other isolated places not having state of the art in internet connectivity.

  • I won't be embarrassing for long because they'll feel different emotions after getting fired.
    • The problem is if you elect the other guy, your two nephews will be getting married to each other.

      (I was trying to figure out how to get a family joke and a conservative joke in the same post.)

  • by hyades1 (1149581) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @10:58PM (#43220659)

    If the federal government was going to bring broadband to West Virginia, they should have gone in and installed it. Handing money to a Red State government for technology is like handing the remote control to your dog.

    Come to think of it, I'd expect more from the dog.

  • I was looking for a new state to settle down and West Virginia's wireless coverage maps looked like that nighttime photo of North Korea. I took that to be representative of their communications infrastructure and eliminated WV from my list.

    • by gatkinso (15975)

      >> West Virginia's wireless coverage maps looked like that nighttime photo of North Korea.

      That alone is enough to make me move there (it is actually quite beautiful in the mountains as well).

      Also, there is a fairly large RF quiet zone surrounding Greenbriar Radio Telescope.

  • by Grashnak (1003791) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @04:09AM (#43221755)

    Jesus Christ... That's exactly the purpose of the freedom of information movement - to ensure that public institutions that do stupid or embarrassing things have to account for them publicly.

    It's like refusing to investigate a crime because you might uncover someone's criminal activity...

  • I suspect it's going to be a lot more embarrassing when a lawsuit forces WV to release the report, at which point we'll also have a good idea of who was actively trying to suppress it in the first place.

  • Admittedly, IANAL, but I'm pretty sure that's not a valid FOIA exception...

    I imagine that, eventually, someone's gonna swing for this mess. Denying a FOIA request isn't going to change that. ;)

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