November 7, 2017
According to the Grand Junction, Colo. Daily Sentinel, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) “has sent yet another letter to federal officials asking for a full accounting of” EAGLE-Net, the “intergovernmental high-speed internet network that was supposed to connect the state’s rural schools with full broadband connectivity,” but never did.
The federal government awarded a $100 million grant to EAGLE-Net in 2010.
As the Daily Sentinel explains, the network is now out of business. In his letter, Sen. Gardner asks the U.S. Department of Commerce to be “public and transparent” as it decides who will receive EAGLE-Net’s assets.
The senator also alleges EAGLE-Net used “millions of dollars in taxpayer money” to overbuild” existing private networks on the Eastern Plains of Colorado and elsewhere in the state.”
Colorado Telecommunications Association President Pete Kirchhoff agrees. He told the Daily Sentinel that, “in several instances,” EAGLE-Net managers “installed broadband where it wasn’t needed and ignored areas of Colorado that could have used its support.” He argued “Now, with EAGLE-Net out of business, we need to find out who controls this taxpayer-funded network and how rural communities may be able to access it to improve their broadband.”
In a press release, Sen. Gardner’s office also reminded constituents that the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) “found that Eagle-Net fell far short of its goals and had weak financial controls.”
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