Plainville to install fiber network, will save town money, could open cheaper internet option for residents

Published on Friday, 4 June 2021 14:41
Written by BRIAN M. JOHNSON

@brianjohnsonBP

PLAINVILLE – Plainville will soon begin the installation of its fiber network, which Town Manager Robert E. Lee said will save the town money, improve town communications and potentially open up an option for cheaper internet for residents.

Lee said the town has hired Sertex, of Plainfield, to install the fiber network, which is expected to begin this month. This $710,000 project has been a year in the making as town officials coordinated with Eversource to relocate wires on town polls to make space for the network.

“The reason things took so long is because we had to ‘make ready’ the space on the polls to be able to hang fiber,” Lee said. “We’ve been coordinating with Eversource to get the companies who have wires on the polls, such as Comcast and Frontier, to move them. Because of the level of coordination necessary it took us about a year to do. That work is being finished this weekend. With everything moved and space created, it will take 60 to 90 days to install.”

Once the fiber network is in place, the town will have improved high speed internet and is expected to save $40,000 to $45,000 annually by not having to pay for telephone line charges.

“The fiber project was to connect all town and school buildings into one high speed internet connection,” Lee said. “We had some buildings, such as buildings and grounds, roadways and water pollution control, which were not connected. It will also connect or sewer pump stations so we don't have to go to them every time an alarm goes off. Now we’ll be able to fix some issues remotely. The fiber network also connects the police communication repeaters, making for a more reliable police radio communication throughout town. Before, we had some dead spots.”

Lee added that according to PURA (the Public Utilities Regulatory Agency) the town will also have the option to use the fiber network to provide residents with another option for internet connection.

“This is something we will explore with Sertex and GoNetSpeed,” he said. “We have the backbone for the fiber network in most corners of town and it wouldn’t take much to expand the roads where people live to provide this option. It could be a way of saving people money; there’s currently very little competition for high speed internet. It was the plan from the beginning to get to a point where we can provide that service as well. ”

Lee said that over the next couple months the town will be looking into whether it makes more sense for the town to own their own system or lease a system. He said the town plans to survey citizens to see if they’re interested in having the town provide internet service.

“Sertex is featuring a new survey system and wanted to make Plainville a beta test site for trying it out,” Lee said. “This is something we’re hoping to unveil in the next month or so.”

Lee added that a fiber network would also allow the town to consider the option of putting up cameras in town.

“It would currently be very expensive to purchase or lease cameras for parks and other locations in town to monitor what is going on,” he said. “The fiber network would open up those possibilities as well.”

Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or bjohnson@bristolpress.com.



Posted in The Bristol Press, Plainville on Friday, 4 June 2021 14:41. Updated: Friday, 4 June 2021 14:43.