|By Business Wire||
|September 25, 2013 12:37 PM EDT||
Erik Cecil of SourceLaw, PC and a legal spokesperson for a Colorado Rural Broadband Telecom coalition issued the following:
Today from 10 AM-12:30 PM, the bipartisan Colorado State Audit Committee will be holding a public hearing with the leadership of the EAGLE-Net Alliance (ENA). Its purpose is to secure factual verifiable information on ENA's expenditure of $100+ million of National Telecommunications and Information Agency (NTIA) Federal and State stimulus grant funding, appropriated to provide high capacity broadband and telecommunications connectivity to "unserved/underserved rural communities in Colorado."
The committee's task is difficult as ENA's management still refuses to release additional records that State Auditor Dianne Ray-CPA, Chairman-Rep. Angela Williams and her State Legislative colleagues believe should be publically available.
ENA's repeated lack of transparency, accountability, responsiveness, regulatory compliance, cost efficiency, overbuilding/duplication of existing telecom services, and modus operandi has resulted in:
- A US House of Representatives Oversight Hearing;
- A prior five month suspension of ENA's operations;
- An internal and unfinished audit by the US Department of Commerce-Office of Inspector General;
- A call for a US Senate Oversight Hearing;
- A June 7 request from rural community leaders statewide to the entire Colorado Congressional Delegation requesting intervention by the US Secretary of Commerce to suspend ENA's operations until a full audit, including locating missing funds, was completed;
- Creation of an independent non-profit coalition -- Colorado Rural Broadband Telecom Group (CRBTG), whose members include rural broadband service providers such as SECOM, Inc., PC Telecom, Inc., Blanca Telecom, Inc./Jade Communications, Inc., Skywerx Industries, LLC, Crestone Telecom, LLC, as well as business and community representatives including the Southwest Colorado Local Technology Planning Team, Craig-Moffat Economic Development Partnership, Dr. Rick Smith, Mayor Bayfield, CO, WMX Systems, LLC, Northwest Colorado Broadband, LLC, and other statewide representatives including communities such as Marble, CO, county executives, educators, and concerned citizens statewide; and
A series of negative state and national
Letters, and media articles on ENA's lack of performance in
Cecil said: "Since 2010 ENA has promised and communities statewide supported new rural broadband services for unserved/underserved communities in Colorado. Despite Federal and State mandates, EagleNet duplicated existing rural fiber optic and high capacity dedicated wireless networks, installed additional networks in urban areas, and has yet to reach many unserved/underserved mountain communities."
"As the severe flooding in Colorado highlights, the ability of rural mountain communities to reliably connect their schools, businesses and health care institutions to the world, via broadband Internet, remains more important than ever. All of ENA's activities are legally subject to State and Federal oversight, investigation and accountability. ENA's cavalier attitude, lack of transparency, and non-responsiveness to rural community concerns in Colorado, however, harms our State's fiscal reputation. It is also detrimental to Colorado's future ability to secure Federal and State funds for rural areas that remain unserved statewide. It is obvious that the top down NTIA-ENA operational del is a failure and must be replaced on any future programs in the rural community telecommunications sector in the State of Colorado," Cecil concluded.