MADISON — For years, Madison County has been adding computer lines and additional phones as needed in the courthouse.
The system worked well for decades. But now that the county is upgrading its emergency communication system and using more high-speed internet for accessing state web sites or videoconferencing court appearances, the need for speed and phone improvements has become apparent.
“As everyone I think is aware, we have been working on a new phone system for what — 2 or 2½ years?” asked Troy Uhlir, chairman of the Madison County board of commissioners.
Uhlir said Wednesday that the county has received various opinions on what it needs for a phone system.
Uhlir, who has headed up the research recently for the new phone system, said he was in contact with RVW, a Columbus engineering firm.
A consultant has looked at the courthouse, which was built in the 1970s before the internet. One of the first things noticed was the county didn’t have a diagram map of all the cables and lines, nor a switch panel.
“We’ve added it (lines) where we needed it as we needed it,” Uhlir said. “There’s no set plan of how it was laid out — that’s my understanding.”
RVW has put together a proposal to do a site audit, draw up plans and specifications for a CAT 6 (type of cable) plan, review bids of firms interested in providing the work, help select a firm and then conduct final inspections.
The new phone system will be Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), with wiring likely to be needed to each phone station.
The upgrade also includes a secure line, with an upgrade to increase the speed to help screens updating in the treasurer’s office, as well as the county sheriff’s office and other lines.
Uhlir said the county could just install an upgraded phone system, but it needs expertise to make sure it is getting something that will work well for all the offices.
Commissioners voted 3-0 to authorize the consulting work to be completed at a cost of $12,900, with the county then owning the cable and lines map both as a hard copy and digitally.