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9Wants to Know: Stimulus money halted amid concerns and suspicion

12:45 PM, Dec 7, 2012   |    comments
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 PDF Document: GrantSuspension

Eagle-Net, a quasi-government run internet service provider, was originally awarded a $100 million stimulus grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to establish fiber optic lines in underserved communities throughout Colorado.

In a letter dated Dec. 6, the NTIA notified Eagle-Net the grant funding is suspended because of "material non-compliance with the terms and conditions" of the grant. The letter indicates Eagle-Net did not follow through with environmental assessments and did not demonstrate it properly secured federal permits.

While there have been critics of Eagle-Net's overbuilding, the suspension of funds does not have anything to do with the concerns of overbuilding fiber optic lines. You can read the letter here. 

Some members of congress and rural telecommunication companies have been voicing concern Eagle-Net has been spending tax dollars to build fiber optic lines in communities where there are already long-established fiber optics.

In one example, 9Wants to Know found Eagle-Net recently installed a fiber optic line in Flagler, Colorado, a community of 561 people where two other private companies have already had long-established fiber optic lines.

Earlier this year, several members of Colorado's congressional delegation wrote letters to the NTIA expressing concern about Eagle-Net's operation.

U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo, asked NTIA to suspend Eagle-Net's stimulus funding.

"I hope this is the beginning of answers for Colorado taxpayers," Gardner told 9Wants to Know. "And this is another stimulus funded program that appears to have significant problems in the way that it was run and the way it was managed."

Eagle-Net issued the following statement to 9Wants to Know about what the suspension of funding means for its future and customers:

"EAGLE-Net is working directly with NTIA to provide the requested information in order to resume construction as quickly as possible. Current customers and community anchor institutions will not be impacted."

Have a comment or tip for investigative reporter Jeremy Jojola? Call him at 303-871-1425 or e-mail him

(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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