Upon the adoption of the Broadband Strategic Plan in 2007, the city's aggressive expansion of its fiber optic network (from 120 to 280 miles and penetrating two-thirds of the city's perimeter) has provided the backbone for a number of innovations to support quality of life and business in the city, and provides for cost savings and efficiencies to service delivery.
Broadband Strategic Plan
Expanded broadband has supported deployment of the Columbus Traffic Signal System (CTSS), which replaces aging proprietary traffic signal systems (hardware infrastructure and operating system) with a more flexible system built on the backbone of fiber optic cable and wireless communications technologies. Currently being constructed over the next five years, there will be an additional 160 miles of fiber built from the nodes into the arterial roadways to facilitate the implementation of the traffic signaling devices and traffic cameras. Upon completion, this system will control more than 1,000 signalized intersections within the city's jurisdiction. This program is one of the key inter-jurisdictional, regional initiatives on which the city is collaborating with other municipalities - under guidance by the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC). When fully deployed, this system is anticipated to improve the flow of traffic on arterial roads, improve air quality and provide a more coordinated approach to traffic control throughout the region for events or incident management.
Another initiative currently being rolled out involves the regionalization of voice over internet protocols (VOIP) to support public safety in the city's neighboring townships. Currently, fire stations in these townships are dispatched by the city as part of a regional mutual aid agreement. With declining township budgets and increasing costs of essentials, significant savings will occur.
Deploying fiber is only the first step. Finding new approaches to municipal administration and service delivery is where real innovation comes into play. The City of Columbus has implemented mobile workforce capabilities with building and zoning field inspectors utilizing cellular data communications for performing inspections on customer premise in real time.
Neighborhoods are also benefitting from broadband-enabled technologies such as the transmission of high-definition video and images supporting public safety, law enforcement and first responders. Mobile connectivity at police substations allows in-car high-definition video to be transmitted directly from a patrol car to centralized servers without the need for removing a laptop or camera from the car and physically docking it to the main computer. Patrol cars simply need to drive into the substation and wirelessly transmit high-definition videos and images for Amber alerts, evidence or dispatch. In addition, following resident consensus, safety cameras have been deployed in five of the city's neighborhoods to help combat crime. These cameras are monitored from the city's operations center and local precincts. Expansion to these five neighborhoods is currently under way with additional neighborhoods being projected for 2014 deployment.