Borough looks to get online with new network



NAUGATUCK — The borough is looking into switching internet providers.

The Board of Mayor and Burgesses voted Dec. 3 to explore the possibility of switching from the borough’s current internet provider to the Nutmeg Fiber Optic Network.

Deputy Mayor Tamath Rossi, who chairs the Information Technology Committee, said that the Nutmeg Fiber Optic Network is a high speed, low cost internet option.

“Given some of the things the IT Committee is looking at for future strategic planning for our infrastructure, it would be something that would definitely be utilized and needed by the borough,” Rossi said.

The Nutmeg Fiber Optic Network is part of Connecticut Education Network, which the Naugatuck school system currently uses, Rossi said. The network is also being utilized by the borough’s police department.

Rossi said the state’s Office of Policy Management is looking for municipalities that would be interested in pursuing the fiber optic network.

“The Office of Policy Management is looking for a letter of intent to be sent in by all municipalities who are interested in keeping their place in line. We don’t know what cost for the borough will be and, quite frankly, we have some time here,” Rossi said. “We will have to put forth a motion by March 31 if we decide in fact we do want to pursue this.”

Mayor Robert Mezzo asked if the board sending in a letter of intent would commit the board to any specific decision.

Rossi said that it would not lock the borough into anything.

“I’m not saying we are going to pursue this because I have no definitive numbers for you. It’s just keeping our options open and it’s putting us at the top of the list,” Rossi said.

Rossi said there is also the possibility of receiving grant money from the state to help offset the cost of the of the fiber optic network.

Rossi also recommended the board begin looking into this fiber optic network because of some of the upgrades the borough will be trying to implement to its information technology in the near future.

“Like I said this is a network that’s already being utilized by the Board of Education. It would have the ability to support any future infrastructure improvements and additions. There’s a lot of different things we are looking at as far as IT is concerned,” Rossi said.

Although the board voted to move forward with looking into the switch, it may be a while before it even has the chance.

“Alan Merly, who is the director of the Board of Education’s IT, was telling me that he knows people who have been on this list for grant money for well over a year and have heard nothing yet,” Rossi said. “There will be a second wave, but I would hate for the borough to miss an opportunity of getting the grant money sooner than later if we choose to pursue this.”

Rossi said the IT Committee will make a presentation in January to the Joint Boards of Mayor and Burgesses and Finance for improvements.

Mezzo said one of the things the IT Committee is looking into is the possibility of ultimately consolidating the Board of Education and borough’s IT functions.

Mezzo added the borough is considering giving the IT Committee power via an ordinance.

“What we’re looking to do is to put into ordinance a committee to oversee our information technology. Given its importance in our future government operations, both on the municipal and Board of Education side, we think that it warrants some actual power. This is one of the tools they will be looking at,” Mezzo said.