Springboro city leaders are weighing whether to join local communities contributing to the cost of installation of a new fiber-optic network.
In some of her final comments to Springboro City Council, City Manager Christine Thompson urged the local council to support the city joining communities agreeing to help the Miami Valley Cable Council pay for the network.
Since it was first envisioned more than 20 years ago, the estimated cost of the network has dropped from as much as $3 million to $935,000, said Thompson, who retired at the end of September.
“I think it’s exciting, with the cost coming down,” Thompson said during the work session preceding Springboro City Council’s Sept. 22 meeting.
The cost would be offset by $266,280 in leases from initial customers, Kettering and Centerville schools, dropping the costs to participating communities to $668,720, according to the cable council.
The network is expected to enable Springboro, along with cable-council members Kettering, Centerville, Miamisburg, Moraine, Oakwood and West Carrollton to “take advantage of lower internet costs, shared software costs, shared programming costs,” Brian Humphrees, executive director of the regional cable council, told this newspaper in August.
The plan was presented to cable council members in August.
Cities are to help offset the cost, based on local population.
Based on the formula, Springboro would be paying $65,000 not currently budgeted, Thompson said.
“It’s a regional benefit,” she said, adding the city should also anticipate annual maintenance costs of $3,600 to $3,800 for the fiber network.
The cable council would manage and maintain the network and contract with Miami Valley Educational Computer Association to provide internet access and support.
Policies, budgets and planning would be done by communities joining in the project and the cable council board.
Communities, including Washington Twp., Montgomery County, are still gauging their involvement.
Miamisburg and West Carrollton city councils have both discussed the issue, but neither has taken any formal action. Moraine has not addressed the concept.
The cable council wants to begin construction by the end of the year or early 2018 and have the network in place by Labor Day 2018.
Once in the ground, access to the network could also be provided to local businesses anxious for high-speed, broadband fiber optics.
Springboro convinced the cable council to run the cable down Ohio 741, Main Street in Springboro, rather than continuing it down Yankee Road, Thompson said.
In this way, the network will be available to the city’s industrial park along Ohio 741, south of Austin Boulevard and east of Interstate 75 in Springboro.
In addition, this route runs near the city golf course and schools, as well as the Clearcreek Fire District’s central station, which provides ambulance service and fire protection in the city and township.
It would expand on a 911 system shared by Centerville and Kettering.
Springboro Councilwoman Janie Ridd asked what would happen if communities, such as Washington Twp., opted out.
“Right now we have an agreement,” Thompson said Washington Twp. officials could not be immediately reached for comment.
The city could eventually see a savings because it would no longer need to pay $1,200 a month for internet service, Information Technology Manager Matt Lang said.
Staff Writer Nick Blizzard contributed to this report.
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