An interruption in fiber optic internet service to Guernsey County earlier this year had IT Director Kenny Mathews asking county commissioners for funding to secure a backup provider during a meeting Tuesday in Cambridge.
A fire in Licking County on Feb. 13 damaged fiber optic lines that feed Ohio and resulted in Charter — the primary provider for the Guernsey County Sheriff’s Office/911 Center and County Administration Building — being down for several hours.
“The sheriff’s office is backed up by (three) cellular devices,” Mathews said. “The 911 Center was open and able to handle calls, but we were severely handicapped.”
The incident started a conversation regarding the need to establish a better redundant circuit at the sheriff’s office/911 center and the county administration building.
“We contacted Horizon, another fiber optic Internet provider, and asked if they stayed up during this outage, and they did,” said Mathews of the company that, along with Charter, provides geo-diversified services in the county.
After obtaining a quote of approximately $1,700 to provide services to the county on a monthly basis, Mathews was able to negotiate a monthly rate of $1,060 for 60 months.
“This is pretty much their bottom dollar for what they are going to offer us to add 100-by-100 fiber optic at both locations with a subnet,” Mathews said. “It’s a lot of money, but it’s becoming a necessity.”
Mathews said both Charter and Herizon fiber optic lines will be utilized to route internet traffic for the county.
“It’s a usable circuit other than just a backup,” Mathews explained.
Commissioner Dave Wilson asked what the county is currently paying for the Charter service, which was obtained through a contact with pricing secured by the state.
“I would have to look, but it’s either $1,350 or $1,500 a month,” said Mathews. “This is actually a little under what the state pricing is and there is a little more flexibility.”
The administration building will be supplied by a Horizon fiber plant on Steubenville Avenue while the sheriff’s office/911 center will receive fiber from the Campbell Avenue area in the city.
Guernsey County Fiscal and Budget Director Brenda Mourder said the need for a backup provider seems critical when it comes to potential downtime for sheriff’s office and administration buildings.
“This would just be viewed as part of the computer services departmental appropriations and it would make sense that it just stay in your budget as contract services,” Mourder told commissioners. “We would just have to increase the appropriations and plan that for the future.”
Commissioners unanimously approved moving forward with the project.
Mathews is requesting Horizon flip a proposed 90-day start date for the administration building with the proposed 240-day start for the sheriff’s office/911 center.
In other business:
- Approved a contract with Roger Touvell Heating and A/C Inc. of Zanesville to provide quarterly preventative maintenance at the Guernsey County administration building, county courthouse and sheriff’s office/jail from April 1 to March 31, 2023, at a cost of $14,600. The fee will be paid from Maintenance Contract Services.
- Reviewed and approved the February 2022 budget, fiscal and receipt reports.
- Authorize Chris Bergerson of the IT Department to purchase three new personal computers and accessories for the commissioner’s office at a cost of $4,101.59 to be paid from the Commissioners Equipment Fund.
Guernsey County commissioners meet each Tuesday and Thursday in the County Administration Building, 627 Wheeling Ave. Contact the office at 740-432-9200 for more information or to be placed on a future meeting schedule.