The first phase of a project that would give Middletown a “Smart Cities” network could provide public wi-fi downtown by as soon as late spring.
City Manager Doug Adkins said the city will be reviewing earlier discussions about a proposal from Cincinnati Bell on the project. He said the cost to create the downtown public wi-fi network could be less than $30,000.
Adkins told Middletown City Council last week that he would begin looking into the details of that proposal as well as learning more about Smart Cities projects in other cities. He said that council will see a supplemental appropriation request for under $30,000 at an upcoming meeting.
He said he has met with officials from Duke Energy, who said they are getting into Smart Cities technologies, and from Spectrum, who have shared what a Smart Cities network could do for the city.
“We will be meeting with them (Spectrum) again to explore details of their capabilities in the future,” Adkins said in an email.
Council held a work session in late January to hear a presentation on Smart Cities from representatives of HP Energy, which is a Middletown company specializing in developing local initiatives. These technology networks enable a municipality to be more responsive to its citizens’ and visitors’ needs while also helping officials make decisions about those areas from data they collect.
During that January work-session, Councilwoman Ami Vitori said Cincinnati Bell already has three nodes covering four blocks in the downtown area and that places such as Miami University Middletown and St. John XXIII Elementary School already have fiberoptic connections.
Also during that discussion, Adkins said he would like to work with Middletown City Schools to connect each of its buildings into the city network and expand it to include Smith Park and Middletown Regional Airport, venues that attract large community events.
Vitori said last week that funding is available and that Fairborn’s project was entirely funded from outside sources. Vitori noted that advertising could be sold to help offset costs.
In January, representatives from HP Energy outlined a proposal that would deploy 50 nodes in the proposed area that would have a benchmark cost between $1 million to $1.5 million for equipment, construction installation, and commissioning and maintenance. Each node has a camera and small computer and is attached to a pole or building. HP Energy said the assessment scope of work and cost will take about eight to 12 weeks to complete.
Adkins said HP Energy submitted a proposal to perform the assessment for $70,000. He said there have been no discussions or decision on whether to re-work the scope of the work or seek other vendors.