In Florida’s high-stakes world of government contracting, Connected Nation learned how to play the game.
The nonprofit Kentucky-based company was formed to expand the reach of broadband to underserved areas throughout the country. In 2009, the company submitted the high bid and won a $3.9 million contract to map broadband in Florida using federal stimulus funds.
But after two years and a new administration, state officials decided last fall that they could reduce the cost of the program and improve service if they let Connected Nation’s contract expire in December and opened the process to other bidders.
It wasn’t so easy. Bids were sought and negotiations started, but with Department of Management Services officials unhappy with Connected Nation’s performance, the company did what has become commonplace in Tallahassee: it cranked its powerful lobbying team into gear and turned to the Legislature.