By JOHN KLINE
THE GOSHEN NEWS
Elkhart County Commissioners Monday approved the funding of a $40,000 fiberoptic network interconnection at the intersection of Elkhart Road and C.R. 17.
First approved by the Elkhart County Redevelopment Commission during its Sept. 27 meeting, the new network interconnection has been billed as a way to effectively connect the county’s two existing fiber systems: the fiber network owned by the Elkhart County Highway Department running along C.R. 17, and the County Administration fiber network that runs along Elkhart Road.
According to Bryan Baker, representative of ComControl Inc., which is heading up the project, connecting the two county fiber systems will allow a much larger network to be developed. In addition, Baker has indicated that by combining the two networks, the larger combined fiber system will be more useful to businesses, and a data link to Union Station would become immediately available to users on the administration fiber network.
Looking even further down the pipeline, Baker said during his presentation to the County Redevelopment Commission in September that when the need arises, a future, privately funded fiber connection from Mapletronics to the combined network will allow even greater bandwidth for system users.
According to County Highway Project Engineer Jay Grossman, who is assisting Baker on the project, the $40,000 project is being proposed first due to its low cost and high potential value. There will likely be additional proposals for fiber expansion in the future depending on the success of the current project.
In addition to the $40,000 request, the County Highway Engineering Department and ComControl are looking at a plan for a possible $200,000 fiber expansion project that would interconnect the county’s administration fiber network with the Norfolk Southern fiber connection to the Union Station data hub.
If established, that connection would essentially link Elkhart County to lines running through main hubs such as Chicago and beyond. However, that proposal would be contingent upon the county’s administration fiber network, which is currently leased, coming under county control.