10.31.17

Gardner Pushes for Transparency and Accountability in EAGLE-Net Alliance Assets Transfer

Washington, D.C.– Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) today sent a letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross requesting that any transfer of EAGLE-Net Alliance’s former assets be delayed until a National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Administrator is confirmed. Gardner is taking action to make sure a transparent and open process takes place.

 

From his time in the House of Representatives, Gardner has led the charge to ensure accountability of taxpayer resources when it comes to EAGLE-Net. In 2013, Gardner sent a letter to NTIA “imploring the agency to promptly investigate the company and the partnership details.” The investigation Gardner requested “found that Eagle-Net fell far short of its goals and had weak financial controls.”

 

The letter reads in full:

 

Dear Secretary Ross:

 

I am writing to request that the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) conduct an open, transparent, and public process for the disposition of any assets from the recently defunct EAGLE-Net Alliance (EAGLE-Net). Additionally, I request that NTIA delay any efforts to transfer those assets until a new NTIA Administrator is confirmed, sworn into office, and able to oversee such a process.

 

EAGLE-Net operated with a federal grant of more than $100 million intended to provide high-speed broadband connections to schools throughout rural Colorado. Unfortunately, millions of dollars in taxpayer money was spent overbuilding existing private networks on the Eastern Plains of Colorado and elsewhere in the state.

 

After significant public scrutiny, including Congressional oversight efforts I helped spearhead, EAGLE-Net handed over operation of their broadband network to a private company in 2015. Finally, in June 2017, EAGLE-Net dissolved its charter, leaving NTIA to control its remaining assets.

 

As NTIA considers how it will proceed with reallocating EAGLE-Net’s assets, the process should remain public and transparent. Since receiving its award of more than $100 million of taxpayer money in 2010, EAGLE-Net was plagued with issues surrounding transparency and appropriate use of those funds. NTIA has an opportunity to end that concerning history and to ensure the public has a full accounting of next steps for those taxpayer-funded assets. I look forward to such an open process once a new NTIA Administrator has taken office.

 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact my office at (202) 224-5941.

Sincerely,

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Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and the Budget Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy and Subcommittee on Energy.

354 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20515

(202) 224-5941