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[POLL] Fiber-optically Connecting Wilton

With the approval of $6,500 in Cablevision grants, the discussion of installing a fiber-optic cable between the high school, library, and town hall started at the last Board of Finance meeting.

Possibly following in the example of towns such as Berlin, Wilton will soon be considering fiber-optically connecting three of the town’s hubs—town hall, , and the library—in order to instantaneously stream high-quality broadcasts between this municipal triangle.

The discussion came at last Tuesday’s meeting, where Wilton’s Director of Information Systems John Savarese presented two grants from Cablevision to the town of Wilton. One of the grants, worth $5,000, would be used for purchasing cameras and video equipment for the ’s Brubeck Room for live broadcasting and programming. The other, a sum of $1,500, would be used to fund general production services used for municipal meetings.

The grants, which were approved, does not necessarily mean that a fiber optic connection will be installed in the future, although it is certain that the issue will come up again as budget talks ensue.

Saravese said that the new equipment, which would include high-quality cameras and possibly the ability to broadcast live, would establish a ”fiber optic backbone." Yet board member Lynne Vanderslice saw it as a new capability that could run into a need for more funding in the future.

“There are operating costs that become permanent operating costs that we have to fund. And I can see the library, they have lots of programs going on over there—and there’s lots of time to fill on that TV station—I can see them wanting to program them all. But that means the town is going to have to pay 70-some percent to broadcast them all….We’re opening the door for the library to incur a whole bunch of costs that they didn’t incur before,” said Vanderslice. She also said she didn’t think enough people used the town’s Cablevision channel 79 to watch meetings as it were.

With the new equipment, “we wouldn’t be dependent on someone with professional equipment to bring it in for a meeting” (something that the town has to pay for) replied Saravese. “Leave out live broadcasting for a minute—it’s [the new cameras] are a professional way to record without incremental costs that could be used for years into the future, and does a better-quality job, and could conceivably used for better purposes for a day in the library.”

Sarvese said that the instantaneous streaming could allow for high school classrooms to view a live presentation at the library without the class having to go there.

“And—do I have to add—it’s being paid for by Cablevision?”

The majority of the board sided with Saravese, allowing the grant in a 4-1 vote, with Vanderslice dissenting. The $1,500 grant passed unanimously.

Chief Financial Officer Sandra Dennies said that a monetary quote for the installation of connecting fiber optic cables between the three town buildings would be released at a future budget discussion. 

Amo Probus November 21, 2011 at 11:34 AM
While I have considerable respect for Mr. Saverese, I think its a mistake to add yet another built-in expense item to the budget and to future operating expenses. Who really needs 'live' broadcasts of town events? Cablevision's "boost" service is more than adequate for streaming taped events. Does this Board have only one forward thinking member? or any commitment to controlling the budget?

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