Broadband expansion in Mon County moves forward

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – From 10 Requests For Proposals from across the country to develop a plan to expand broadband commissioners in Mon County have selected Columbus, Ohio-based Ice Miller Whiteboard.

The Broadband Committee comprised of Mon County Commission president Sean Sikora, county IT director Jeff Welsh, county planner Andrew Gast-Bray, MECCA-911 representative Mike Fortney, Erik Carlson from the Morgantown Area Partnership, Ron Lytle from the Mon County Board of Education and MMPO director Bill Austin.

From the ten, Ice Miller Whiteboard and Salt Lake City, Utah-based Entry Point were the top candidates to complete the plan.

“Looking at really trying to provide what we’re asking for,” Sikora said,” At that point we did a scoring from the orals that led to the top two vendors we have been left with.”

The Ice Miller Whiteboard cost proposal was $250,657 about $200,000 high than the Entry Point bid, but Sikora says the winning proposal contained more technical benefits to the county.

“As we zeroed in we really found out Ice Miller really proposed what we wanted,” Sikora said,” The costs really related to what we wanted and that Entry Point fell short.”

The commission wanted a proposal that included projects that could be done together or separately to get connectivity to all Mon County residents. The Ice Miller Whiteboard proposal gives commissioners a variety of options.

“They have a lot more engineering built into their proposal which is what we wanted- we want actionable plans,” Sikora Said,” Once we decide what we’re going to do we want the plans to be able to do that.”

The commission also voted to give Ice Miller Whiteboard exclusive status to bid on projects after the RFP has been completed. The vote does not obligate the commission to work with the firm, but it does allow the commission to work with an established vendor.

“We did our due diligence and verified their financial status,” Sikora said,” And we checked to make sure they didn’t have any exclusions from performing work.”