Fairlawn Council Approves FairlawnGig Partnership to Expand to Summit County

Last night the Fairlawn City Council approved, by unanimous vote, a partnership agreement between Summit County and FairlawnGig to build, manage, and operate a countywide fiber ring as well as a new data center in Fairlawn.

The fiber ring, funded entirely by Federal dollars, will connect all 31 communities in the county to each other and public safety network. The $35 million dollar project, dubbed “Summit Connect” by Summit County, will deliver the highest speed, secure internet service to host each community’s public safety operations.

Additionally, the County is funding a data center that will be located in Fairlawn’s Corporate Park, a safe and secure location for both public and private cloud operations as well as backups and business continuity. The data center is expected to break ground late next year and open its doors for business in 2026. The data center will also serve as the backup to the County’s regional dispatch center.

The data center will be the finest, most advanced in Northeast Ohio and will be significant component in helping to attract and support innovators in our region.

“Summit Connects will deliver countless possibilities for the County including increased economic growth to accompany a more technically advanced region offering enhanced infrastructure,” stated County Executive Chief of Staff Brian Nelsen. “The fiber ring will open opportunities to deliver better internet service to our County’s unserved and underserved residents with the ultimate goal of adding a level of public safety not seen from many areas of the country.”

The agreement signed Monday night is one that will put FairlawnGig in a planning, oversight, and management role for the Summit Connects project.
“It’s a testament to our team and the great things that we have done here in Fairlawn that the County turns to us for guidance and leadership,” noted Fairlawn Mayor William Roth. “We’re excited to spearhead this project for Summit County, and we can’t wait to see the improved public safety, innovation, and growth that will come with it.”

What does this mean for FairlawnGig customers?
In late 2020, FairlawnGig oversaw the build of a fiber ring for the Summit County Criminal Justice Technology project. This initiative expanded FairlawnGig to County and Akron municipal buildings that hold criminal justice proceedings or house inmates to facilitate virtual court proceedings to increase the safety and security of law enforcement, court employees, inmates, and the general public.

For our FairlawnGig customers, we’d like to assure you that we always have been and always will be focused on Fairlawn, first and foremost.

What does this mean for Fairlawn?
Jobs – a few in the Fairlawn data center but more significant is the job multiplier effect that accompanies data centers. The center will be a “home” for both public and private organizations’ offsite IT operations and will grow both Fairlawn and the region’s need for higher-paying IT and tech jobs.

What does this mean for Summit County?
In the relative short-term, the region will have a significantly better public safety infrastructure that will be critical to improve first responder services.

Long-term, the ring creates a myriad of possibilities for the region including the economic growth that will accompany a more technically advanced region offering better infrastructure. The fiber ring will also open opportunities to deliver better internet service to our regions unserved and underserved citizens. Finally, the data center will ensure we remain connected and operating in the face of unforeseen disasters.

We’re excited to spearhead this project for Summit County, and we can’t wait to see the improved public safety, innovation, and growth that will come with it!

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