Feds Block Education Funding from Idaho
The federal government said Thursday it has blocked millions in funding to Idaho's education broadband system because a lawsuit over the project's $60 million contract raised questions about who should get the cash.
The Federal Communications Commission withheld $7 million for the Idaho Education Network, a high-speed broadband network for Idaho high schools.
Idaho legislative budget writers learned Thursday telecom giant CenturyLink and Education Networks of America haven't been paid by the federal government since last March.
That's when the Idaho Supreme Court resurrected a lawsuit in which Idaho-based telecom provider Syringa Networks accused the Department of Administration and its then-director Mike Gwartney, of inappropriately awarding the contract to its rivals. Last March, justices concluded Gwartney inappropriately helped CenturyLink win the IEN deal.
With ongoing litigation — the most recent hearing in Idaho's 4th District Court in Boise was Jan. 14 — the FCC won't pay any more money until doubts about the contract's legality have been resolved.