Piedmont, Ala., Approves Deal to Bring Fiber to City Buildings, Infrastructure

The improvements will mean better connections to vital city facilities and long-term cost savings.

by Patrick McCreless, The Anniston Star / November 8, 2017
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(TNS) -- PIEDMONT — City leaders approved a nearly $35,000 deal Tuesday to extend faster Internet and phone services to certain Piedmont buildings, a measure officials say will save money on utility bills.

The deal with Gresco Utility Supply, a Georgia-based telecommunications company, will mean new fiber optic cable for the city’s water filtration plant, aquatic center, sports complex, sewage lagoon and senior center. Consolidating all phone and Internet services under fiber optic cable will save the city about $10,700 annually in utility bills after the first four years of the investment, officials say.

The council approved the deal during its regular Tuesday meeting. The project will be paid for with money from a reserve fund the council created earlier this year.

The project should take about a month to complete.

“We’re looking at extending the current fiber network of the city to cover the rest of the buildings the city has,” said Ben Singleton, city Internet technology manager.

Singleton said the installation of the approximately 35,000 feet of new optic fiber would carry an upfront cost, but would save the city money in the long run by consolidating services. Currently, the buildings set for the new fiber wire use older phone and internet lines provided by AT&T. The savings come by canceling those other lines and just using fiber for the whole phone and internet network in the city, Singleton said.

Besides offering upgraded phone and internet lines, the deal will provide necessary fiber optic cable to a well the city is constructing as a secondary water source.

“It’ll be very vital and critical for the automation at the well,” Jesse McKnight, superintendent of the city water, gas and sewer board, said of the cable. “Without it the well won’t work.”

Also during the meeting, the council agreed to buy an almost $700,000 new fire truck, which will have a 75-foot ladder. A $642,858 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to the Piedmont Fire Department will cover the bulk of the cost. The city will pay a $32,142 match for the truck with money from the fire tax.

Fire Chief Mike Ledbetter said the truck would be custom built and likely delivered in April.

“This is going to be the best truck we’ve had in a long time,” Ledbetter said. “This truck best fits what we need.”

©2017 The Anniston Star (Anniston, Ala.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.