Shared high-speed network could help suburbs fight crime, save money

9:00 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017 Local
Amanda Holland works in the Centerville Police Department s dispatch center, which handles emergency calls for the city of West Carrollton. The Miami Valley Communications Council is looking to further joint efforts among its members by implementing a fiber ring. NICK BLIZZARD/STAFF PHOTO

Several south suburbs will be asked to join a fiber optics “ring” that - advocates say - will save money, help solve crimes, benefit schools and invite business growth.

The internet network would expand on the concept of a 911 system now shared by Centerville and Kettering, said Miami Valley Communications Council Executive Director Brian Humphries.

Fiber optic networks provide faster data speed and higher capacity.

The network would allow Kettering and Centerville and other MVCC members - Miamisburg, Moraine, Oakwood, Springboro and West Carrollton – to “take advantage of lower internet costs, shared software costs, shared programming costs” hopefully within the next year, Humphries said.

RELATED: Fiber optics project to connect Centerville, Kettering

The concept being presented to cities “gives them the power to connect easily, quickly to share this information and share data almost simultaneously,” Humphries said. “It’s going to be very helpful and save them all money in the long run.”

Washington Twp. has been asked to become a partner and cost savings “will depend on each partner city,” he said.

“A lot of the stuff that we’re talking about are opt-in things,” Humphries added. “So it depends on how much of the sharing” partners want.

Sharing 911 systems and “crime mapping” are both ways the network can help communities, documents show.

RELATED: Cities explore linking fiber optics network

Swapping details about crime trends “are tools that can help police departments solve crimes – or maybe prevent crimes,” Humphries said.

The fiber ring would cost $935,000 to build, but costs for partners would be offset by $266,280 in leases from initial customers, Kettering and Centerville schools, dropping the partner costs to $668,720. Each partner would receive 100Mb service with another 100Mb backup service, documents show.

West Carrollton’s share would be $50,000, or $5,000 over 10 years, City Manager Brad Townsend said via email.

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The city spends about $8,000 a year on “internet service, maintenance and upkeep of our wireless mesh system, which this project would replace,” he added.

But Townsend indicated the cost isn’t the only reason city “council is unanimously in favor of our participation in this project.”

He noted that with the new shared system, West Carrollton’s “data speeds would increase 2 to 5 times with built in 1 gigabyte redundancy service between cities for 911 and emergency service operations (worth the cost in and of itself).

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“In the long term,” he noted, “the opportunity for shared data services between cities such as a common phone system, data storage and backup will reap even higher financial benefits.”

Kettering City Manager Mark Schwieterman said future uses for the system – proposed to be 40 miles - could be beneficial for businesses which decide to integrate their systems with the technology. It could also provide businesses with incentive to relocate, Humphries said.

“For those who want to take full advantage of it, there could be big savings here,” he said. “Because there’s so many opportunities….they will definitely save money, big money in the long-term.”

The plan is the result of a study that started a few years ago with a $100,000 state grant for innovation, Humphries said. The council has started meeting with community leaders about the system and would like to see each one approve it by the end of the year.

That way, he said, construction could start in late winter or early spring with the network in use by Labor Day 2018, but “hopefully sooner.”

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