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Router Purchases Criticized
Routers Purchased By State Criticized By Computer Expert
February 12, 2013

C L I C K   T O   P L A Y
The state of West Virginia purchased $24 million worth of high-powered broadband Internet routers. The routers will be used for state agencies. But the amount spent was criticized by a legislative auditor at the Capitol on Sunday. Now a computer expert is slamming the state for the purchase.

"They bought a Maserati in absence of a road qualified to carry it, when a Volkswagen would've done the job," said Stephanie Heck, programmer and router specialist with Sheck Technologies.

Heck said the lack of bandwidth in West Virginia makes the purchase of high-powered routers in many cases a waste. "They bought routers appropriate for a large medical center or for small college or large high schools and assigned them to grade schools and public libraries," she said. "They would only use one percent of their technical potential."

Sunday afternoon, the House of Delegates heard a report from Legislative Auditor Aaron Allred on the purchase of routers. A total of $24 million was spent. In some cases, a $40 router is being replaced with a $20,000 router. Rob Alsop, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's chief of staff, said the expensive routers are an investment for West Virginia's future.

Heck said the Legislature was told the routers are part of a 10-year plan when in reality the average life of these routers is five years.

Heck said this could have done "with a router properly configured for $200 to $500 and done with 3 percent of the money spent. I'd love to see the political people talk to the technical people before such large-scale decisions are made."

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