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Commission approves $4,200 for effort

County to study 911 Internet expansion

Idaho County Courthouse

Photo by David Rauzi
Idaho County Courthouse

— Alongside neighboring counties, Idaho County earlier this month agreed to put up $4,200 to study how to make the regional fiber optic network ready for emergency communications. The amount, matched by the other counties across the district, will fund discovering the locations of existing fiber optic lines and estimating the costs of building new interconnections between the region’s dispatch centers.

Expanding the regional fiber optic network could allow the counties to control the costs involved with keeping 911 dispatch technology operational even as existing equipment ages toward obsolescence. The counties could move to share backroom equipment and consolidate key electronics in Lewiston, rather than keep up duplicative systems in several separate backrooms across North Central Idaho.

“All the equipment has more capability than any of the counties individually need,” said Jerry Zumalt, who is Idaho County disaster management coordinator and the county’s point-man on DIGB2, the District II Interoperability Governance Board.

The board approved the money for the study to come out of the E911 communications line, which is includes fees paid by local cell phone users. The study is expected to cost the five counties in District II – Idaho, Clearwater, Lewis, Nezperce and Latah – about $21,000, which they’ve divided evenly.

The board also appointed commissioner Mark Frei to meet with other District II appointees to consider the development of a new emergency communications Joint Powers Board.


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