County to build fiber ring and data center for local governments

Summit County, Ohio plans to build a 125-mile fiber optic ring and data center that will connect its 31 city, town and township governments to gigabit-speed Internet service.

Under legislation introduced June 13, the county will work with the City of Fairlawn on the design, construction and financing of the county’s Public Safety Fiber and Communications Network fiber ring and data center. from Summit. A regional council of governments, including Fairlawn, will manage the project, officials said in a statement. Press statement.

Local governments have limited options for Internet service. Like consumers, they depend on providers who choose to serve a geographic area, often limiting their access to high-speed broadband. Officials cited data showing that 11% of populated areas in Summit County lack access to even minimum levels of upload and download speeds.

Initially, the Summit County network will provide high-speed, secure and affordable broadband for government operations and public safety agencies in each community. The program will provide an interoperable public safety communications platform that will improve information sharing for Summit County’s 31 communities, emergency radio system, consolidated dispatch center, and virtual court platforms, based on Summit County Capital Improvement. budget.

A $22 million data center will enable the county and connected communities to reduce costs by consolidating data storage, data backup, disaster recovery, data security and service co-location, officials said. county officials.

The network will be served by FairlawnGig, a local municipal broadband utility owned and operated by the City of Fairlawn.

The first phase of the project, the fiber optic ring and data center, is expected to be operational by 2025. In the second phase, the county will explore extending Summit Connects to residents, businesses, schools and other interested entities through agreements with Internet service providers.

“While we are primarily looking at government services and public safety, we also realize that with what would be called an intermediary network that connects all 31 communities, it creates the opportunity to partner with… internet service providers companies that would then come into , bring in private capital investment and invest in building community networks and selling, delivering Internet services to residents and businesses outside of those networks,” said Brian Nelsen, Chief of Staff of the Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro at Tag Log. “It’s really a public-private partnership that we envision, trying to make the most of what government and public funds can provide with what the private sector can invest in and the services they could provide.”

The county will fund the projected $35 million cost of the design and construction of the fiber ring with part of its allocation from the US federal bailout. The $22 million for the construction and operation of the data center will come from the county’s general capital improvement funds.

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