"We still plan to have it finished before that," he said. "All of those routers will be distributed."
State Chief Technology Officer Gale Given, a retired Verizon executive who stepped into her new position last month, acknowledged that technology office staff members once had reservations about the routers.
"There were concerns," Given said. "The way I would characterize that is that when my staff expressed those concerns, they were looking at it sort of in the way reporters have looked at it, in that this is a small place and it only needs a small router.
"They weren't looking at what the vision and the purpose of the grant was."
Like Gianato, Given said the state wouldn't be well served by equipping a small school with a small router when future demand may be greater.
"When my staff considers the vision of the project, they agree these were the right routers," she said.
House Minority Leader Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha, asked Gianato to attend Wednesday's meeting to answer questions regarding the router purchase.
Armstead asked whether any unneeded routers could be returned or the state was stuck with them.
Neither Gianato nor Given thought the state could return the devices, but both said they were confident the state could find some use for them, even if it was in another area of government.
"This is a great resource and something the state of West Virginia needs to make full use of," Given said. "This is not going to be a problem."
"I can tell you that since some of the stories came out, I've had numerous agencies call me and say if you don't have use for that, then we really have the need for them," Gianato said. "In fact, I know the sheriff of Kanawha County has called to ask me for several of them."
Armstead said after the meeting that lawmakers would press Gianato and other officials for more details about the purchase.
"I think we just need to ask these questions and, like any public expenditure, they need to justify the use of this money," he said.
"The bottom line is we're talking $24 million. That's a great deal of money," he said. "And to think of what we could do with $24 million to help the people of West Virginia, I think we need some answers."
Contact writer Jared Hunt at jared.h...@dailymail.com or 304-348-5148.