Westerville is working toward completing its fiber optics network, giving city offices and businesses better access to broadband services.

Westerville is working toward completing its fiber optics network, giving city offices and businesses better access to broadband services.

Last month, Westerville City Council approved the purchase and placement of conduit to connect some remaining city buildings to the city's existing broadband network and to add conduit to the Westar business complex to supplement capacity to the network there.

Early next year, city council will vote on placing fiber optics in areas where the city has laid a system of conduit that has not been connected to any fiber network, city information systems director Todd Jackson said.

Connecting remaining city offices to the network will increase speed and reliability for employees, Jackson said.

"There's times when (employees) don't have quite enough speed out at the remote locations, and it doesn't work as quickly as they need it to," Jackson said. "This should help that."

The move also will save Westerville money by allowing it to cancel additional Internet hookups for those locations, which carry monthly fees.

The additional conduit at Westar will help increase capacity for businesses in that area, Jackson said. Businesses are able to lease conduit space from the city, and at Westar, Jackson said the city is seeing high demand.

"That's getting a little congested from companies that are leasing conduit space from us," he said.

The fiber optics council will be asked to approve early next year will help to connect city buildings and medium and small businesses to Westerville's fiber optics network, which will eventually be connected to the city's planned data center.

The backbone of that fiber network, dubbed "WeConnect" by the city, will take fiber to the city's satellite office and through all of Westerville's business districts, such as Uptown, the South State Street corridor, Brooksedge, Eastwind, northern Westerville and the Westar area, Jackson said.

"That fiber will connect those remote locations at the city facilities and also be the backbone of the WeConnect network that will eventually terminate inside the community data center," he said.

Businesses in those areas eventually will be able to get Internet service from carriers that contract to work through Westerville's planned data center and fiber optics network, Jackson said.

The final piece of the network will come later next year, when the city will look to create smaller, lateral connections to individual businesses and offices, Jackson said.

Through the community data center, the construction of which city council approved in October, private Internet companies will be able to hook into the fiber optics network to provide broadband services.

The network, with the help of the data center, will help smaller and medium-sized businesses to afford broadband access that otherwise would be out of their price range, Jackson said. It also will allow opportunities for Internet companies to provide service in new areas.

The city also benefits, Jackson said, because the broadband infrastructure will help make Westerville more attractive to businesses looking to locate here.

"If you don't have broadband availability, you don't even get considered any more with companies looking to locate," he said.