PLAINVILLE - The Town Council is considering upgrading town internet to a fiber network, which would not only create a faster and more efficient system but save the town more than $35,000 annually.
At a work session before Monday’s council meeting, the town’s director of information technology, Kevin Ross, outlined the advantages of upgrading to fiber cable. Town Manager Robert Lee said this plan would not affect next year’s budget but the following year’s.
The town’s parks, senior center and other buildings use DSL modems, while the police repeaters use 20-year-old T1 technology, which Ross said the phone companies no longer wish to support.
“Right now we have no control over these non-fiber connections - where they are going and what they are doing,” Ross said. “They are slow and have limited bandwidth and will eventually be phased out. Fiber will let us filter and monitor internet access, improve the reliability of our network and offer wireless access in parks. It is guaranteed to last 25 years and expected to last 30 or 40 years.”
Ross said surrounding communities including Bristol have gone the fiber route.
Doing the same would save Plainville $35,380 annually. Over the next 20 years, the current system would cost $859,640. A leased fiber system would cost $440,500, while purchasing one would cost $458,755.03.
Ross explained that the estimated cost to purchase the fiber system is actually $610,883, but the town could qualify for a grant that would cover $229,378 and leave the cost to the town at $458,755.
“I am a big proponent of this fiber project,” said Councilor Scott Saunders. “It will allow us to do things we can’t even dream of down the road.”
Ross said the town is not even using 5 percent of the bandwidth fiber offers.
“Fiber will exceed what we need to do for quite a while,” he said.
Councilor Ty Cox said the upgrade needs to move forward.
“In the next 10 years, it will have to be done, regardless,” he said. “The quicker we get it done the better. This is the right path to take.”
During the meeting, Council Chairwoman Kathy Pugliese recognized the recent deaths of two well-known residents: Carmine Lalama, who died May 29 at 70 years old, and Joe Robar, who died June 1 at 82.
Pulgiese said Robar was often seen riding his bike through town and during the Memorial Day parade. Lalama was a member of local art leagues and regularly attended council meetings.
Council Deb Tompkins said Robar was known by some as the “mayor of Plainville” and added, “You couldn’t help but smile when seeing him.”
She said that she had been friends with Lalama for 18 years and met him while learning to oil paint.
Councilor Jesse Gnazzo said he saw Robar nearly every day for the past 25 years.
“He would come up and talk to you about his Mickey Mouse shirt or something from Disney World and pedal away and, no matter what you were going through, you always felt better after,” he said.
Councilor Rosemary Morante noted that Lalama was a member of the Plainville Historic Center and coordinated the sale of bricks from Old Linden Street School as a fundraiser for the center.
Lee reported that the City of Bristol has agreed to share building official services with Plainville for at least one year, saving the town $30,000 to $40,000 a year. He also reported that the state Department of Administrative Services had approved a 65.38 reimbursement for the Wheeler School renovation project, as projected.
The council later voted to approve Loureiro Engineering for environmental consulting services for the rehabilitation of the White Oak property.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.