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W.Va. broadband project nears completion

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News,Science and Technology

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Frontier Communications is wrapping up work on projects expanding high-speed Internet across the state.

A new state report shows 583 miles of fiber-optic cable has been installed to schools, libraries and other public facilities. Seven miles of cable remains to be installed. Frontier also is installing 85 miles of fiber-optic cable to link West Virginia University and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank. Six miles of cable remain to be installed, the Charleston Gazette (http://bit.ly/164WOHV) reported in Sunday's editions.

The work is part of the state's $126.3 million federal stimulus project to expand broadband service. Frontier is to receive about $45 million for its work. As of Friday, the state had paid the company $9.6 million.

"The Office of Technology is in the process of working with the grant implementation team to ensure accuracy and documentation of all invoices and payments," Department of Administration spokeswoman Diane Holley-Brown told the newspaper.

Holley-Brown said Frontier bills the state when it completes fiber construction at each location.

"A large proportion of the Frontier fiber builds has been invoiced, and some of those are being processed for payment," Holley-Brown said. "However, ... they do not submit the invoice until all work on that specific build is completed."

A Frontier spokesman referred questions to the state officials overseeing the federal stimulus project.

Homeland Security Director Jimmy Gianato notified the federal government last fall that West Virginia expected to have $9 million left over from the $126.3 million project. State officials last week revised the estimate to $4 million in unspent funds. Any money that isn't spent will be returned to the federal government.

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Information from: The Charleston Gazette, http://www.wvgazette.com

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