Communication fiber could circle city

by Laura Freeman | Reporter Published:

Hudson -- The city could be circled by a communication fiber to provide broadband, traffic control, cameras, phone service and Internet access to the municipal facilities and possibly, businesses and residents.

Internet Service Manager Bill Hilbish told Council April 22 he has set a goal to provide community wide communication links for city employees and facilities and develop business and commercial links for emerging needs in the community.

The city departments are spread all over the place, Hilbish said. He will use 144 strand single-mode fiber to connect the city offices, substations and create a redundant circle around the city in five years.

The cost of $47,000 for fiber and hardware would be spread out over the years and allow Hudson Public Power to do the labor, Hilbish said.

The 144 strand can service the city's municipal needs, said Interim City Manager Scott Schroyer. He asked Council for feedback on whether the city should look at expanding to business parks and become a utility provider to businesses and residents.

Council member Dennis Hanink said a subsidiary could be the Internet provider and the city could receive revenue.

"The city could have a great return on its investment," said Council member Keith Smith.

Some Council members wanted the work completed sooner than the five-year forecast by Hilbish. Hanink suggested 2016 instead of 2019.

"The business community is screaming for Internet connectivity and speed," said Council President Hal DeSaussure. "We can use it as an economic development and business retention tool."

Economic Development Director Chuck Wiedie said businesses were frustrated with Windstar, which was slow and lacked customer service.

"Our businesses need the Internet," Wiedie said.

Hilbish said providing the service wouldn't put cash in the city's pockets, but it would generate tax revenue by businesses moving to the city for the service.

Schroyer said to provide a better product, the circle of fiber would have to be completed to prevent outages and offer redundancy.

"We can look at the schedule [of work] and see if we can be more aggressive to achieve the loop," Schroyer said.

Email: lfreeman@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9434

Facebook: Laura Freeman, Record Publishing

Twitter: @LauraFreeman_RP

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