Rich Galen

Another $20,000 router was installed in the library of Marmet, West Virginia. The town of 1,500 citizens has a one-room library with a single internet connection. The library is open on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturday.

All in all the State of West Virginia is the proud owner, according to reporter Nate Anderson, of some "1,164 Cisco model 3945 branch routers."

Total cost? $24 million dollars.

There is a growing chorus of anti-private industry types calling for the government - Federal, State, and Local - to take over the design, installation, and maintenance of broadband internet service.

No private company would have been duped into pouring $24 million into that kind of equipment. It would be like going to the hardware store for a shovel to plant a rose bush and coming home with a back hoe.

Cisco would not have dared try to oversell a corporate Internet Service Provider because that company would have thrown Cisco off its corporate books forever.

The Federal government, with the best of intentions, sent $24 million to the State of West Virginia and Cisco - turned the flashlight off halfway across the river.

Private companies are successful because they know what they need to know. Governments are not successful when they try to do what private companies do because governments do not know what they need to know.

Twenty four million dollars is a long way from $16.6 trillion but this is only one example of one small project in one relatively small state.

Do the math.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at