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Oswego County Legislature to consider new fiber optic Internet plan

WRVO News (file photo)

The chairman of the Oswego County Legislature wants to bring another option for high-speed fiber-optic broadband service to the county. Kevin Gardner introduced the plan during his recent State of the County address, saying it would begin by connecting county-owned properties and then making the service available to town governments.

"It's a fiber-optic network," Gardner said. "It's really unlimited, as far as how much we can transmit between the buildings. So our plan is to have all the buildings within Oswego County, that Oswego County owns, to be hooked up to this fiber-optic network. And then from there, municipalities and even the public can kind of link in at a later date."

Gardner claims the project won't require any additional spending and calculates that it will eventually save Oswego County thousands of dollars each year. And the plan calls for the fiber-optic service to be available to county residents down the road.

"Not through the county, obviously, through that company that we choose, and be able to get it through their areas," Gardner said.

Time Warner Cable currently holds the county government's Internet contract. Joli Plucknette-Farmen, a spokeswoman for the company, says there are other costs associated with fiber-optic networks than just paying for service that sometimes local governments don't realize.

"Often times municipalities discover that the cost and complexity of maintaining and upgrading a network turns out to be much greater than they anticipated," Plucknette-Farmen said.

She says the company is unsure about the actual cost savings of switching service contracts, but that they would be willing to discuss the proposal. Time Warner says they do have plans on the books to increase their fiber optics in the future.

Gardner says he expects the legislature to vote on the broadband plan within the next couple of months. If approved, parts of the project could begin three to six months after that.