West Virginia issued a Request for Information to the telecom industry for any companies interested in the state's proposed new network. Interested vendors can attend a briefing June 27.
The state is actively soliciting input and ideas, State CTO Keith Comstock tells CEDaily. "We intend to have an open meeting in June," followed by a Request for Proposals during the summer. Those will be released for comment in the fall, then re-released as a "real RFP" by Thanksgiving, he says. The state hopes to award a contract to multiple vendors in 2002.
"We basically have a good network in the state," he says, but officials are looking at "where network technology goes" in the next few years.
While the proposed network could be worth millions in new contracts, it is being designed initially to serve government entities. Vendors would be asked to develop a model that would make the network be available to other users, Comstock says.
The project is part of the Governor's Office of Technology's efforts to minimize gaps in the digital divide between its rural and urban areas, and connect areas presently not connected. The agency says the network lays the foundation for Governor Bob Wise's e-government initiative.