Syringa urges state to rebid broadband contract

On Tuesday, a district judge tossed out Idaho’s $60 million high school broadband contract — saying the state improperly rewrote the deal to exclude Syringa Networks from the deal.

Monday’s court ruling throws the state’s contract with CenturyLink and Education Networks of America into limbo. It also means taxpayers could be on the hook to pay millions of additional dollars to maintain the Idaho Education Network, a broadband system connecting 219 high schools. (Fro more about these implications, click here for our coverage from Tuesday.)

Now for two contractors’ reactions.

In a statement Tuesday, Syringa Networks CEO Greg Lowe said he hopes the state will rebid the contract:

“The District Court concluded that the (network) procurement was ‘fatally flawed.’ The court’s decision speaks volumes with the undisputed facts and history of the case in reaching its conclusion.

“While Syringa Networks is supportive of the (network), it pursued this action to prevent vendors such as ENA and Century Link from improperly benefiting from an unfair procurement process at the expense of Idaho’s taxpayers. We are pleased that the District Court agreed with our position by voiding the (network) contracts. 

“With the District Court’s recent opinion, Syringa Networks remains hopeful that the Department of Administration will recognize that this litigation, funded by taxpayer dollars, was a wasteful attempt to ‘fix what cannot be fixed,’ and move forward to rebidding the IEN procurement.”

Garry Lough, ENA’s Idaho director of customer service, said his company plans to stay the course:

“While we cannot comment on the ruling, what is important to ENA and Idaho is the service and utility provided by the (network) and ENA to Idaho’s students and schools. ENA will focus on continuing to provide stellar service as we allow time for the process to run its course.”

CenturyLink has not commented on Monday’s ruling.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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