September 2, 2014

Fiber optic line coming to county courthouse within days

Wireless internet could follow

Posted

ARENAC COUNTY — The Arenac County courthouse should be seeing substantial savings from moving to a fiber optic line for telephones and internet service this month. What’s more, wireless internet at the courthouse could be added soon.

County Commissioner Mike Snyder said the county should only be paying about $375 a month for the dial tone on its new telephone system, a substantial savings from the $800 a month it was paying for AT&T’s phone service up through July.

“We’re looking at our cutover (happening) on Aug. 7 to the fiber optic line, and at that point we’ll be shifting both our data and communications.,” Snyder said. “The communication is going through Complete Communications, and the data is coming via Merit Cable.”

Netsource One is hooking up the fiber optic lines above and below ground, Snyder said, and is providing tech support for the county. He did not believe that employees at the county building would notice a substantial difference in the operation of the phones or computers.

“The only thing so far that I’ve had people raising eyebrows at, is that the internet will come out of Chicago rather than a local provider like Charter,” Snyder said. “Other than that, the phones are going to be exactly the same.”

He said the Standish City Hall could be hooked into the phone system as well, as the cables are running nearby. If that happened, then the city and the county could split the cost for the phones and save additional funds.

Snyder also said with the fiber optic line, the circuit court is interested in having Wi-Fi added to the courthouse and using it to store its servers. From there, it could easily transfer records to and from the Arenac County Sheriff’s Department and the courthouse. He did not yet have an idea on what it would cost the county to set the building up for Wi-Fi, and added Wi-Fi is a topic he is prepared to discuss further with court officials.

While county officials have not even discussed if they would open Wi-Fi to the public or keep it available only for staff, Snyder believes it would be a good idea to let the public on the network.

“It would be technologically naïve if we didn’t open it to communications for the public and have it generally open, especially to the county site and things like that,” Snyder said.

He said the county’s old firewall did not work well, but with the new one from Netsource One, it should be able to secure its own files. With those protected, he did not foresee any issues with allowing the public to use the county’s proposed Wi-Fi network.

Snyder was not entirely certain when the fiber optic line would be operational — he was told it would be ready by Aug. 7 — but he said that the AT&T phone system would likely be available for at least 60 days before it gets shut off, so there should be ample time for the changeover to occur.

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