Planning Commission looks to expand fiber optic access in county

WARREN — There are several unused and underused fiber optic lines in Trumbull County, and the Trumbull County Planning Commission is working on a plan to expand their use in hopes of creating “smart” communities.

Trish Nuskievicz, executive director of the commission, said the department has approached Warren, Niles and Brookfield and are in the very early planning stages of working to expand the use of the lines in those communities.

“Fiber optic technology is the cutting edge of internet and data transfer speeds, acting as a powerful business attraction and retention tool where present, as well as enriching the lives of current and prospective residents,” Nuskievicz said.

The technology, already used in a few industrial and commercial hubs around the county, can help communities be more efficient, cut costs, stay in touch with their residents and monitor their assets.

“We need to remain competitive in today’s economy and its changing job market in order to succeed, and I believe this is the way to do that,” said Warren Mayor Doug Franklin.

The lines that are already laid down in the county should be taken advantage of and expanded, and funding sources are being “aggressively” pursued, Nuskievicz said.

“In the old days, it was the highways and steel mills. We still have the highways and the remnants of the mills, but we have to be looking at the drivers of today’s economy and broadband seems to be a huge part of that,” said Trumbull County Commissioner Dan Polivka.

Commissioner Mauro Cantalamessa said the project is one that will keep the county on the “competitive edge.”

Specific plans for the projects could be in place next year, but no firm timeline can be developed until funding sources are identified, Nuskievicz said.

“However, waiting on the availability of funds will not keep us from planning for the future of this county,” she said.