I expect I am the somewhat average, long-term complacent member of our charming community.
Unfortunately the proposal by our Board of Selectmen to recommend an investment of $1.6 million for a of very questionable benefit has figuratively knocked me off my chair of complacency. (Feel free to consult the Town of Wilton website with regard to the “Shared Data Fiber Optic Network” bonded capital project proposal.)
I have more than a casual understanding of such technology matters and would express grave concern with the potential folly of this project proposal. The vapid two page presentation document on the town website does not offer any real rationale or allay any technical, operational or financial concerns with regard to this significant investment.
The project is a solution in search of a problem. As a business executive, I am trained to focus on the basics: What are the precise, documented needs? What are the alternative solutions? Where is the financial justification?
While there could be many concerning questions raised with regard to the requirements, this particular project should be dead on arrival from the simple perspective that alternative robust solutions are available at a lower cost.
While I understand this recommendation was part of a commissioned infrastructure study, the ‘experts’ involved appear to have been selling a project rather than evaluating a solution. I appreciate it is a difficult assessment for our town leaders due to limited exposure to the technical subject matter and natural reliance on professional recommendations.
I expressed early concern with the approach and contacted our elected leadership in February with an offer to use personal and business contacts to provide an informal but impartial review of this project by some true industry subject matter experts. It is my belief and opinion that these professionals hold greater expertise than those with whom the town of Wilton had contracted with for a recommendation.
While I was provided a very polite response, there was no effort taken to share information of an expert evaluation to achieve the best outcome for our community.
$1.6 million might not seem significant in a wealthy town like ours, but I would strongly urge every resident to question this particular project. There is no desperate need, no immediate urgency and further study is appropriate.
In a time of economic hardship for so many, Wilton does not need this fiber optic folly.