September Spotlight: City of Westerville
This month we are highlighting the City of Westerville, located just a few miles north of downtown Columbus. Their broadband and fiber program, created through strong private-public partnerships, is a great example of a successful municipal broadband that we should be celebrating and emulating.
In 2010, community partners and local businesses expressed their need for fiber and connectivity in the city. This led to the creation of the WeConnect data center, making Westerville the only city in the country that operates a municipally-owned data center that is open to the public! Right now, over 80% of businesses in Westerville have access to WeConnect and every new building in the city has the conduit to connect to the system.
The data center, conspicuously located near the Otterbein Campus, is a 16,000-square-foot, city-owned facility—delivering advanced technologies throughout the city limits via a publicly owned fiber-optic network. WēConnect was designed to help businesses reduce operating and capital costs and gain access to multiple ISP’s that were not readily available in Westerville previously.
The data center and WeConnect program operates as a business like any standalone utility company, with user-based fees. No City of Westerville taxes or general fund money is used for its operation. The local presence means that businesses and organizations who utilize WeConnect see unparalleled service, from on-boarding through ongoing support, each and every hour of the day. They’re onsite 24/7, committed to responding to any emergency within 15 minutes. This commitment to service has led to a customer retention rate of 100%.
As Central Ohio continues to grow, we should be celebrating the ingenuity of our communities that have created the environment for these businesses to thrive. For example, Central Ohio Primary Care and DHL both established headquarters in Westerville, citing WeConnect as a big factor in their decision. It is truly an example of “if you build it, they will come.” Even AT&T utilizes the data center to co-locate for their customers!
What’s next for WeConnect? The team is hoping to soon expand their offerings to include fiber to the home!
To learn more about WeConnect, visit their website at https://weconnectdatacenter.com/.