Fiber optics system still being examined

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 19, 2006

VIDALIA &8212; Local leaders exploring the option of installing a fiber optics system in Vidalia say the project is still a long time from coming to fruition.

&8220;We&8217;re still investigating the legal ramifications of having a fiber optics system, but if it is possible, this would be a huge project, both financially and beneficially for the city,&8221; Alderman Ricky Knapp said.

Earlier this month, Knapp, Vidalia mayor Hyram Copeland, City Attorney Jack McLemore, Concordia Parish Economic Development Director Teresa Dennis and Brent Adkinson of Advanced Micro Technologies traveled to Jackson, Tenn., to

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observe the fiber optics system the city had in place and to see how it worked.

Copeland said the system in Jackson worked very well.

If a similar fiber optics system were adopted in Vidalia, it would replace the communications lines, made of copper, with glass fibers, which operate faster and are able to transmit more data, Brent Adkinson said.

&8220;If a system like this were installed it would give the city of Vidalia a number of advances,&8221; Adkinson said. &8220;Including a competitive, therefore cheaper, cable television service, video conferencing for corporate businesses and widespread video surveillance

for the city&8217;s police.&8221;

An example of fiber optics already in use in Vidalia is the video surveillance system Advanced Micro Technologies installed along the riverfront.

Adkinson said the camera system was connected to the Vidalia Police Department dispatch for police surveillance.

There is already a fiber optics system installed in the city of Lafayette, La., but lawsuits and complaints were filed against the fiber optics company by cable companies and other individuals, Copeland said.

&8220;Members of the Board of Alderman and I plan to attend the hearings on the fiber optics cases in mid-September,&8221; he said. &8220;Based on the decisions the courts reach on these cases, we can then pursue action to getting a fiber optics system installed in Vidalia.&8221;

If plans for a Vidalia system progress, the city will conduct a feasibility and engineering study.