Wilton Board of Finance Dims Fiber Network Proposal

The proposed $1.5 million Wilton Shared Data Network has already gained unanimous approval from the Board of Education and the Board of Selectmen.


The Wilton Board of Finance on Tuesday reportedly declined to endorse a proposal to build a fiber optic network linking town facilities.

The proposed $1.5 million Wilton Shared Data Network has already gained unanimous approval from the Board of Education and the Board of Selectmen.

The Board of Finance, however, voted 5-0 with one abstention not to support the project, which will go before the Town Meeting in March, according to a report in the Wilton Villager.

It was the second time the board decided not to support the controversial project — which involves linking the Town Hall, Wilton Library and Board of Education offices/Wilton High School to create a fully redundant fiber optic network.

Last April the project was yanked at the last minute from the Town Meeting agenda due to a lack of consensus on the need for it.

After that initial defeat, the Board of Selectmen appointed a special Townwide Network Committee comprised of various town officials to review and further define the project. The committee commissioned Blum Shapiro to conduct a review of the project and concluded that the town could benefit from the fiber network in a number of ways, including improved network redundancy/disaster recovery, reduced dependence on third party IT support, reduced communications costs, increased security and operational efficiencies.

In December First Selectman William Brennan said he was concerned about the timing of the project, since the town was hoping to underground sections of the fiber when Yankee Gas lays new lines in sections of town next year. He said time was running out to get the fiber project through the approvals process.

During Tuesday's meeting some members of the Board of Finance said they still didn't have enough information to support the project, according to the Wilton Villager report.

The town meeting will vote on the project on Tuesday, March 12 at 7:30 p.m. in the Clune Center for the Arts at Wilton High School.

For more, check out the Wilton Villager report.

Cliff Cuming February 15, 2013 at 07:35 PM
The time and money wasted on the ill-conceived fiber optic cable project is just amazing. Just about everyone with rudimenary IT knowledge outside of the Brennan-Clark-Dennis circle knew it was a wasted effort a year ago. Someone called it a wastful solution to an undefined problem.
Resident February 16, 2013 at 05:51 AM
I really wish our leadership could task professionals to identify alternative lower cost solutions rather than the current efforts to merely justify a significant expenditure. The Blum Shapiro report is a bit of a logical fallacy with regard to the fiber optic network. The report is a valuable IT risk assessment with regard to continuity and disaster recovery. The IT risk assessment issues identified are quite concerning, but the issues are distinct and separate from the Fiber Optic capital investment being proposed. Blum Shapiro is regional consulting firm with expertise in accounting rather than technology. Despite the limited credentials in technology, if you take the time to read the document it is clear that the Blum Shapiro did not provide an assessment of the most cost effective solution to provide the required connectivity infrastructure to the town. Further to the thoughts of cost effective solutions, there is no financial justification for this project. Lower cost solutions exist. When this project was proposed a year ago a rigorous review of the financial payback would suggest $0.1M of real savings to offset the $1.6M investment. The concern with the Fiber Optic Investment is very simple… Nobody has made any effort to study alternative solutions available at a lower cost. A private business would be able to identify a lower cost robust solution and would not even consider this investment.
Cliff Cuming February 16, 2013 at 06:06 AM
The interests of the town would now be better served if the BO'S cancelled the March 13 special town meeting. It would save the cost of the meeting, acknowledge its is not a solution, preserve some credibility and enable the town to focus on spending reductions in response to the reduced automobile tax sharing program. The town stands to lose some 4 million dollars in auto tax revenues and needs to reduce spending by a comparable amount. Let's be competitive with other towns by being adroit.
Mike February 16, 2013 at 04:45 PM
Millions of companies operate on a global basis everyday without a fiber network connecting every one of their locations. The Internet was designed and built to BE a redundant network. This is a complete waste of resources conceived by people who lack an understanding of the problem (or the understanding that there is no problem) and I applaud the Board of Finance for making the common sense decision to kill this project.


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