PORTAGE | The Board of Works on Thursday morning approved a contract with Comcast to install and maintain a new telephone system for the city.
Fire Chief Tom Fieffer, who also is acting as the city's information technology director, said the present telephone system dates to 1979, is obsolete and is expensive to maintain. He said over the long Thanksgiving weekend the telephone system was down at the fire stations.
And, because the system is obsolete, when repairs are needed the city pays $500 per hour for a technician to do the work.
In addition, Fieffer said, it was thought that when the city's computer system was switched to a cloud system there would no longer be any need for the fiber optics system. However, the present phone system uses fiber.
The new system will operate on a coaxial cable, he said, eliminating the need for the more costly fiber system.
The cost of the new contract is $2,279 per month, which includes new equipment and maintenance.
The city now is paying $5,400 per month for the fiber system and about $800 in monthly telephone bills, said Fieffer.
The new system, which should be installed within six to eight weeks, will cut costs about in half and will improve reliability, Fieffer said.