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tieOne of our main philosophies at SpireTech is to ask “why” – not what. Our motivation is to understand what you want to accomplish so we can find the best way to support your goal, rather than throwing money and equipment at a problem that may be misunderstood. Evidence of how important this philosophy is comes from West Virginia this month as a review by a third-party of the use of over $120 million federal stimulus. The stimulus was intended to help expand high speed internet to “community anchor institutions”, such as libraries and schools, in the state. The findings have yet to be fully disclosed because “the documents may be embarrassing to some people,” says Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette. The investigation of a possible misappropriation of funds came out earlier this year when it was discovered that a rural library, the size of a trailer home, was supplied with an enterprise-class, $20,000 Cisco router.

Federal oversight is still trying to get to the bottom of it. Top-of-the-line equipment for that location is overkill to even a casual observer. The argument has been made that the enterprise level equipment was required for some locations, such as 911 emergency response call centers, and using identical models simplified management and warranted discounts from Cisco. It seems odd that those justifications don’t appear to be documented, or have at least been poorly presented. Even having two different models (one for high-availability high-priority and another for low-priority) would still keep complexity out when purchasing routers for over 1500 locations.