Idaho's statewide broadband contract faces FCC subpoena


Idaho is now facing the scrutiny of the FCC, which has joined others in investigating the state's handling of its statewide broadband network.

Teresa Luna, Idaho's Department of Administration director, said in an Aug. 26 letter obtained by The Idaho Statesman that the FCC Office of the Inspector General has subpoenaed the state for documents related to the Idaho Education Network.

The statewide network has been a source of controversy with contractors alleging in a lawsuit that the state did not legally award the contract for providing broadband services to the state's schools.

According to the Idaho Statesman report, the federal government stopped providing payments to the state broadband program citing concerns about the contract.

Merlyn Clark, an attorney for the state Department of Administration, said he does not understand why the FCC issued the subpoena.

"We have asked the Office of the Inspector General attorney whether they are doing a separate investigation or whether they are merely acting as the subpoena power for" Universal Service Administrative Co., Clark said.

Clark added that they are working to get the FCC the information it requested this month.

In February, a report emerged that the state would have make $14.5 million in payments to CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) and Education Networks of America for operating the statewide network.

Syringa Networks, which was not awarded a seat on the contract, protested the state's decision to award a $60 million contract to CenturyLink and Education Networks of America in 2009.

Related articles:
Report: Idaho owes $14.5M to CenturyLink, Education Networks for running statewide education network
CenturyLink will consider other metro fiber, data center acquisitions
TDS extends broadband to rural customers in Idaho, Washington and Wisconsin