“Mesh radio” project could save City big money

By David F. Rooney

A so-called “mesh radio” project could save the City some big money, City Council was told earlier this week.

Council was told Tuesday when it sat as a Committee of the Whole that a bid process to install a network of small, bread box-sized transmitters around the city has yielded winner: TDS Controls and Automation, whose system could save taxpayers $40,000 a year that is now spent on leasing landlines from Telus.

Geoff Wilson, the City’s systems analyst and programmer, said the mesh radio system allows staff to continue using their telephones and computers normally. However, the signals would be transmitted by radio instead of by Telus-owned phone lines.

The City has budgeted $160,000 for this project. It currently spends about $80,000 a year on land and cellular telephone costs. The mesh radio system will save the City about 50 per cent of that, Wilson said.

“Rather than use different Telus lines we can use our own system,” he told Councillors, adding that most of the small transmitters will be attached to light standards.

The system is so secure that the universe will end before someone can crack the encryption used by the mesh radio system, which will be installed by Oct. 31.

Wilson said that given the amount of snow Revelstoke receives “it either happens before Halloween or it’s not going to happen” this year.