City upgrading Internet connection
Updated: March 1, 2013 6:31AM
PARK RIDGE — An outdated computer network hampering city operations has prompted Park Ridge to begin upgrading its technology infrastructure.
A new fiber-optic system will soon replace the point-to-point T1 lines that currently run between City Hall and all government facilities.
Information Technology Director Diane Nelson maintains that an updated network is necessary to meet the city’s growing technology needs.
“It’s pretty critical at this point,” she said. “We’ve gone well beyond the normal replacement cycle.”
The fiber network would alleviate problems related to video streaming, and allow the city to replace its current phone system, Nelson said.
The Park Ridge City Council on Jan. 21 approved paying Integrated Data Storage in Chicago $89,872 for equipment and installation work to get the citywide network up and running.
The city had solicited bids from technology firms earlier in the month after having agreed to a five-year, $174,000 contract with Wide Open West for network services in December.
Four companies submitted bids ranging between approximately $56,500 and $199,600. Two applicants, however, did not conform to bidding requirements and were disqualified. Integrated Data Storage represented the lower of the remaining two options.
Nelson explained that rules of the public bidding process forbid city personnel from following up with bidders regarding applications.
Before officials approved the expenditure by a 4-2 vote, 6th Ward Ald. Marc Mazzuca pulled the item from the consent agenda to question the urgency of installing the network.
Earlier in the meeting he had voted against spending $50,000 on new tree planting.
“I think we have more pressing needs in the community,” Mazzuca said. “To the extent that we can delay some of those things that are somewhat discretionary, and reprioritize money for things, (those actions) will deliver real value to the community.”
Nelson noted the city would pay $8,000 a month for the T1-lines that expired if activation of the fiber network was put on hold.
The city is paying for the network equipment and installation through its technology replacement fund, an unbudgeted pool of cash.