Monticello looks to fiber optic 'net

MONTICELLO — The laying of fiber optic cable for faster Internet in the next two years is expected to be an economic boon for Monticello, and Piatt County government could be one of the first recipients.

A company has already expressed interest in renting space at the Piatt County Office Building (the old Kirby Hospital building) to house racks of computer drives, then sell cloud-based storage space as the key part of its business.

"If it wasn't for the fiber they wouldn't even be thinking of coming here," said Richard Wilkin at the county board's Building and Grounds Committee meeting last week. He estimated the county could reap about $100,000 in revenue annually if it could land the firm, which he declined to name.

The county, the city of Monticello, Allerton Public Library and Monticello School District are splitting the estimated $12,000-$16,000 for engineering costs related to the fiber optics project, as well as the $200,000-$240,000 cost to lay the cable.

Because the computer drives at the office building would generate plenty of heat, the data storage firm would need ample cooling, which the county thinks it can provide.

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