Inspector General Auditing EAGLE-Net following Congressional Pressure
WASHINGTON D.C. – After a Congressional oversight hearing and pressure from U.S. Reps. Cory Gardner (CO-04) and Scott Tipton (CO-03), the Department of Commerce Inspector General has decided to dig into the finances and operations of the stimulus funded broadband provider EAGLE-Net Alliance.
“EAGLE-Net has spent all but $7.8 million of the $100 million it was originally given, and it has only reached half of the schools it promised to serve,” Gardner said. “Now they’re trying to raise additional funds from the private sector with no clear plan for how they’re ever going to be sustainable. This is a government program run amok, and we owe it to the taxpayers to find out exactly what happened before EAGLE-Net wastes anymore money.”
“So far, Eagle-Net has overbuilt in areas that already have high-speed fiber-optic lines installed by private providers, blown through $100 million in taxpayer funds, and put needed projects in unserved areas on the Western Slope at the bottom of their list of priorities,” said Tipton. “With this track record it is truly astonishing that Eagle-Net is requesting additional funds to finish a project that falls pathetically short of the promises the company made to provide broadband access to unserved rural areas.”
In a letter to Inspector General Todd Zinser, the Congressmen are asking for timely updates on the investigation and a full accounting of how EAGLE-Net has spent its stimulus grant and what its plans are moving forward.
EAGLE-Net has come under fire in recent months for using stimulus money to lay fiber optic lines next to existing networks – putting the government entity in direct competition with the private sector. It has also failed to build a fiber optic network into communities on the western slope that are truly underserved, while connecting museums in downtown Denver.
The letter was also signed by Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (OR-02).