CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- State lawmakers believe Frontier Communications or the state team in charge of implementing a heavily scrutinized massive federal grant won't disclose detailed maps that could show whether public money was spent efficiently.
"I think we're running into a brick wall that's being put up," said Delegate Nancy Guthrie, D-Kanawha, Monday afternoon during a meeting of the joint Committee on Technology.
The state's chief technology officer denied the claim, and Frontier officials issued a memo "to address some of the myths that have surrounded the project."
Committee members want to see detailed engineering maps of the fiber Frontier built with the $42 million it received from the $126.2 million Broadband Technology Opportunities Program grant.
Lawmakers still haven't seen the maps, Guthrie said. She wants Frontier or the state Grant Implementation Team called before a committee with the power to force someone to turn over the maps.
"This is a legislative committee that's duly sworn to follow the money," Guthrie said after the meeting.
"We're just not getting answers, and it's public money."
Guthrie questioned state Chief Technology Officer Gale Given about the maps during the meeting. Given, who is also on the grant implementation team, said there are a "slew" of maps that show where wires are located.
"I don't think we're talking about the same thing," said Committee Co-Chairman Sen. Mike Green, D-Raleigh.
Green and Guthrie said after the meeting the available maps aren't detailed enough. More detail could provide answers to several questions, including how many miles of fiber were actually constructed, Guthrie said.
The state received the federal funding in 2010 to increase the availability of its high speed Internet. Frontier was awarded the contract and charged with providing broadband access to hundreds of "Community Anchor Institutions" likes schools, libraries and municipal facilities.
That included connecting the institutions to a larger broadband network with fiber and installing routers.
The state and Frontier have come under fire numerous times during the project.
In February the Legislative Auditor's Office determined the state spent about $15 million too much on routers that far exceeded the capacity needed at their particular locations.
In September the auditor also determined the state sidestepped purchasing laws when it spent roughly $38 million in federal funds on communications towers.
Most recently, the head of communications company Citynet leveled a flurry of allegations against Frontier.Citynet CEO Jim Martin appeared before the committee Monday. Pointing to costs and the scope of the project, he called on the state to conduct a complete audit to determine how many miles of fiber Frontier actually built.
"We already had Router-gate. We had Tower-gate. We don't need Fiber-gate," Martin said, referencing the program issues included in the auditor's reports.
"Lets get in front of this thing now."
Some of the problems center on the per-mile cost of fiber built for the project. In the early stages of the project Frontier estimated it would build 900 miles of fiber at an expected cost of $42 million, Given told the committee.
In order to not build fiber where fiber already existed, she said Frontier eventually built 675 miles of fiber. The entire project still cost the same though, according to information from Frontier provided by company spokesman Dan Page.
Given said the state estimated spending about $47,000 per mile and the cost came in at about $57,000 per mile.