Aurora could do more than $1 million in tech upgrades in 2019

Written by Steve Lord at Beacon News Dec. 28, 2018 Aurora could do more than $1 million in tech upgrades in 2019

A list of four projects totaling $1.18 million was included in the city’s capital improvement program as part of the recently concluded 2019 budget process.

Three of the projects, totaling just under $1 million, are considered high priority.

Ald. Robert O’Connor, at large, the finance committee chairman, said the list was included because officials wanted to know how many tech-related projects were coming up, and what they would cost.

He stressed that although they are in the capital improvement plan, each project must come before the City Council to be individually approved. They all might not be done in 2019.

“All of them have to come through as a specific project,” he said.

One of them, a $300,000 project to install a “redundant fiber backbone” between the Naperville and Aurora fiber systems, has already been before the council and is scheduled to go before the finance committee again on Jan. 8.

The link would be on the east side of Eola Road, just past the intersection with Diehl Road, near the water tower along the Illinois Prairie Path.

The intersection is a busy one, both for vehicle traffic and for the information super-highway underneath, with 23 wires under the road there. The city is looking for the link as a backup to one Aurora and Naperville already have because they share public safety systems.

The city also would include some piping underground that could eventually help OnLight Aurora, the city’s nonprofit organization that has developed a fiber optic network to service local businesses, educational facilities and governmental bodies, according to plans for the project.

OnLight Aurora could eventually service several business on the east side of Eola Road, including the Scientel Solutions Inc. national headquarters planned along Eola, south of Diehl. The businesses would pay for the hookups to OnLight, officials have said.

The intersection is a hotbed of tech activity in large part because CyrusOne, a date storage company, has a large facility that just expanded on the southwest corner of Eola and Diehl. CyrusOne holds the data for the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, as well as several foreign exchanges.

The project is considered a high priority, and is estimated to cost about $300,000, according to city officials.

Two other projects considered high priorities are the deployment of fiber from the city’s Barnes Road Water Tower to the Aurora Airport in Sugar Grove and the replacement of more than 10-year-old switch equipment.

The city has been discussing fiber to the Aurora Airport for its video surveillance systems for a while. But the cost of burying the fiber all that way — about five miles — is high, according to city data.

It would cost about half that amount — or an estimated $480,000 — to use ComEd power poles for the fiber, and earlier this year, the city struck a deal with the company to use the poles. It would be a bit controversial with some because it’s the first time OnLight Aurora would use poles for the fiber, instead of burying it, city data indicates.

But according to the city’s technology officials in their notes on the project, “a hybrid design of aerial and terrestrial fiber” is a “well established practice in the telecom industry.”

The switch replacements are estimated at about $200,000, according to information on the proposed project.

A fourth project, considered a medium priority, is refreshing an optical network server. That is estimated at about $200,000, according to city data.