Lakeville to get its own fiber network

Partnership with Dakota County planned

Lakeville city officials are proposing a plan to address a significant data drag.

After years of computer network system stalls and bottlenecks that occur between the city and its Police Department when squad video footage is transferred between data bases, the city is planing for change.

A new fiber optic system is proposed to be built under a joint powers agreement (JPA) with Dakota County to serve 12 city facilities: the Heritage Center, City Hall, municipal liquor stores, Lakeville Area Arts Center, police and fire stations, water treatment facility and Lakeville’s central maintenance building.

The network will provide a gigabyte of bandwidth and is expected to be built in two phases, beginning this year and concluding in 2018.

Lakeville is expecting to pay $648,642 of the project and is seeking ways to reduce its costs by optimizing existing fiber plants, leasing where appropriate and seeking partnerships.

Assistant City Administrator Allyn Kuennen said working with Dakota County under a JPA is the city’s best option for funding and maintaining the system.

Kuennen said at a Jan. 23 City Council work session it would cost over $1 million for the city to install its own network, and private companies either could not provide the service or were too expensive.

The city’s data network is now privately leased. The agreement expires in 2019.

“We are facing some critical mass as far as our operation,” said Ralph Vetter, Lakeville’s information systems manager.

He said the city has inadequate bandwidth between sites for its operations and experiences periodic slowdowns, and weekend file backup operations sometimes carry over into Monday or even Tuesday morning.

Vetter said there will be some lease costs in the future, but predicted the city will eventually save between $72,000 and $90,000 annually under the new system.

He said the county will likely fund maintenance of the system.

Council members indicated support for establishing the network and staff was instructed to continue working on the JPA that when complete will be presented to the council for a vote.