Sonora, CA — Tuolumne County has selected Comcast to provide internet services for county operations.
The county asked for bids, and Mother Lode Internet initially had the low bid of $1,998 a month to provide 100 megabits per second. Comcast came in second with a bid of $2,079 a month. The contract would be for five years, and equal over $120,000.
However, a problem was discovered with Mother Lode Internet’s bid. It included some reselling of Comcast’s ethernet connection in order to meet the county’s 100 Mbits requirement. Comcast has a corporate policy that does not allow for resale.
Mother Lode Internet owner Ben Hulet told the Supervisors that he was prepared to use a different provider in order to meet the 100 Mbits requirement, and still keep the low bid in place. Supervisor Evan Royce backed Hulet and felt that this should be allowed because MLI still promised to stand by the original low bid amount. County Counsel Gregory Oliver pointed out that there would be legal problems with allowing that to happen, and the county would have to throw out all the bids and start from scratch.
The vote was 4-1 to approve a contract with Comcast, with Royce in opposition. The other Supervisors cited the “Integrity of the bid process” as the reason for going with Comcast.