Selectmen approve network upgrade

The decades-old Internet connection between Miller-Driscoll School and the Board of Education building will be upgraded through a contract First Selectman Lynne Vanderslice will sign. It will also add connections to the town hall complex and Comstock Community Center.

Vanderslice got the go-ahead to sign the $264,878.50 contract with ComNet Communications, LLC at the Board of Selectmen meeting on July 5.

The cost will be covered by $270,000 approved by the Board of Selectmen “as part of the 2016 and a previous year's budgets,” said Vanderslice.

“The network is old and is going to be inadequate in the next couple years,” said Vanderslice. “It's not protected by conduit; it's not owned by the town and it requires an annual maintenance payment.”
The Board of Education currently has free Internet service from the Connecticut Education Network, which the different schools have access to by internal networks.
Vanderslice said using a commercial provider would have been two to eight times more expensive, and isolating Miller-Driscoll — not connecting it to the free Internet and instead having the town buying Internet itself — would have been twice as expensive.

Isolating Miller-Driscoll also would not have solved the problem of the weak connection between Comstock and the Board of Education building, said Vanderslice.

This is important, she said, because Comstock communicates with town hall by going across the Board of Education’s free network before accessing the state-provided Nutmeg Network, which the town gets at a discounted price.

The Board of Selectmen decided on a network upgrade that would get rid of the old network between Miller-Driscoll and the Board of Education building and replace the weak connection between Comstock and the Board of Education building.

The Board of Education has reaffirmed the approval of the network upgrade and would like the new system put in, said Vanderslice, and the Miller-Driscoll Building Committee is expecting the network upgrade to occur by the time the new phone system is installed in August.