The city of Canal Winchester is about to move at the speed of light -- or at least its information is..

The city of Canal Winchester is about to move at the speed of light -- or at least its information is..

Through a new contract with Time Warner Business Class, city buildings will be connected to one another via fiber optic data lines, according to city technology coordinator Rick Brown.

"We recently designed a new phone and data infrastructure which will include six locations connected with high-speed fiber to be completed early next year," Brown said. "We contracted with ChaseTEK to solicit bids for us and analyze the responses, which resulted in the Time Warner and Star2Star telephone solution."

Brown said ChaseTEK collects a fee from bidders so the city did not pay for the solicitation process that resulted in a monthly contract of $3,715.70 for Time Warner's data services, and $1,043.90 for Star2Star's Voice Over IP telephone services.

"The VoIP solution, which almost everyone is going to, will save us a lot of time in management because we're going from an old copper-based system to fiber and cloud solutions, where Star2Star can remotely manage and monitor everything for us," Brown said. "The fiber installation will begin at the far end of the high school and go under Deitz Road to the public works facility. Another line will go under the parking lot behind 36 S. High St."

Initial estimates, Brown said, were for $60,000 to run the fiber cables. However, Time Warner agreed to run the cables among the city buildings and to the municipal pool for a total of $3,000, an "unheard of amount."

"Part of what we'll do is create a segment that is public so at the pool and town hall, we'll be able to offer free Wi-Fi alongside our internal phone and Internet service," Brown said. "We're going to be able to realize a lot of technology for a little bit of money."

Finance Director Nanisa Osborn said these upgrades are part of Canal Winchester's five-year budget planning.

"Our overall budget for the technology upgrades is $70,000, and this is a part of the five- year budget," Osborn said. "We expect some of this will last many more than five years. Our current phone system was purchased in 1996."

As a component of the upgrades, the city just replaced all of its desktop computers and software and upgraded its server infrastructure, Brown said.

"Our goal is to bring everything to a base line that we can support. We waited seven years to upgrade some of these things," Brown said. "Over the last month, we completed new email server infrastructure with enhanced security and storage, as well as migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7.

"By making these upgrades, including the increased network speed, we'll be able to increase our technology offerings to residents and employees," he said.