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Monongalia County chooses vendor to help develop broadband plan

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The Monongalia County Commission is moving forward with a plan to expand broadband in the county.

The commission recently chose Ohio-based Ice Miller Whiteboard to do the job.

Sean Sikora

There were 10 companies interested and their proposals were reviewed by the county’s broadband committee. Monongalia County Commissioner Sean Sikora said Ice Miller Whiteboard and  Entry Point were the top candidates.

“We’re 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.”

The Ice Miller Whiteboard cost proposal was $250,657 about $200,000 higher than the Entry Point bid, but Sikora said 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,” he 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 Monongalia County residents. The Ice Miller Whiteboard proposal gives commissioners a variety of options, Sikora said.

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

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 and we checked to make sure they didn’t have any exclusions from performing work,” Sikora said.

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