Several possible vendors, including the Washington School District, are being explored to run fiber optic cabling, or a “virtual network” for the city.

Brian Boehmer, assistant city administrator, briefed the city council on the project at its administrations/operations committee meeting this week and recommended using the school district’s cabling network.

Fiber optics would provide faster Internet connections than are currently being used.

A connection at the public safety building would feed to city hall and the library. Other connections would be made at the fire station headquarters, the parks department, public works facility and the wastewater treatment plant.

The fire station would serve as a disaster recover site since it is several miles away and has a higher earthquake and tornado rating.

The fiber optic communication also would provide stability and greater connectivity for data and network services.

“While the city has not been a forerunner in technology, it is best that we attempt to stay caught up with other cities and localities in the state so that we don’t end up going backward with old technology or not being able to process information from other municipalities,” Boehmer said in a memo to the council.

The city has the possibility of joining the Washington School District network for $300 per building per month, or about $28,800 per year. Estimates from other vendors range from $38,940 up to $84,000 per year.

The parks department and fire training center are unable to connect because of the distance from any connection.

If the city were to use the district’s network, the school district would maintain all fiber connections and repairs. The city would be responsible for monitoring its portion of the fiber.

“Joining the fiber provided by the district would allow us not only to provide access for all users, but as a future consideration, we could add IP cameras and monitor our facilities much like the district does with little additional cost as the fiber base would already be in place,” the memo said.

Boehmer said that the estimates are “moving targets” and that the decision hasn’t been made on whether to do all the buildings at once or individually.

There is a one-time cost of running fiber to most of the buildings Cost estimates on running the cabling to the buildings have not yet been determined.