CARBONDALE - Governor Pat Quinn today announced an investment of $1.5 million to build an ultra high speed broadband network in Southern Illinois. The partnership between Frontier North, Inc., the City of Carbondale, Southern Illinois University and Connect SI will use the funding to build a gigabit network that will serve residents, businesses and institutions in Southern Illinois. Today’s announcement is part of Governor Quinn’s commitment to drive economic growth and create jobs across Illinois.
“Ultra high-speed internet access is a key to success for the future of Illinois,” Governor Quinn said. “In order to remain competitive in today’s digital society, Illinois must have broadband infrastructure second to none.”
The $1.5 million investment – supported by the Governor’s Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction program – provides funding for Frontier to build a high-speed fiber optic network to Carbondale’s businesses, schools, hospitals and neighborhoods. The gigabit broadband, up to 100 times faster than speeds currently available, will help recruit new business to the region and enable Southern Illinois University’s scholars, innovators and entrepreneurs to connect globally. Capabilities for telemedicine and telehealth through the University’s School of Medicine will also impact citizens in underserved areas in Southern Illinois and allow for faster transmission of medical records and vital information.
"The best part of the Governor's grant is that it isn't about fiber optics and lasers; it is about a world class community network built to drive jobs and new opportunities for Carbondale and the region,” Frontier Senior Vice President and General Manager Mike Flynn said. “Frontier Communications couldn't be more proud to be a part of this community effort as we work every day to provide advancing broadband services across all of Southern Illinois."
“Southern Illinois has a long history as a leader in broadband,” Broadband Illinois Interim Executive Director Brad Housewright said. “Through the efforts of Connect SI, Frontier and stakeholders from business and industry, we’re excited to build a public-private partnership around this initiative.”
Governor Quinn was also joined today by top executives and employees from Clearwave Communications, a Harrisburg company that just completed another high-speed connectivity project in Southern Illinois. The project used $11.3 million in state funds, as well as federal and private dollars, to install 751 miles of fiber in 23 counties connecting 232 community anchor institutions.
Governor Quinn has invested more than $71 million in broadband infrastructure throughout the state as part of his Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction program. This investment has leveraged more than $214 million in additional funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Through these projects, more than 3,000 miles of fiber optic cable has been installed, with more to come.
Today’s Carbondale announcement represents the fourth major Gigabit Communities Challenge broadband infrastructure project announced since Governor Quinn took office in 2009. Supported by the Governor’s Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction program, the Illinois Gigabit Communities Challenge sought proposals from private and public organizations to encourage promising ultra high-speed broadband deployment projects throughout Illinois. Each project must connect at least 1,000 end users to Gigabit broadband speeds.
For more information, visit Gigabit.Illinois.Gov.