SPRINGFIELD – October 7, 2009. Governor Pat Quinn today commended U.S. Cellular for bringing improved cellular phone service to the people of Macoupin County. Governor Quinn’s visit comes after U.S. Cellular activated five additional service towers in the area by the end of 2009.
“Cell phone service is a fundamental necessity for personal and public safety as well as economic growth.” said Governor Quinn. “The people of Macoupin County have lacked adequate cellular service for years but, thankfully, they can now stay better connected to the people they care about most.”
For several years, parts of Macoupin County were “dead zones” with very limited cellular telephone service. In 2008, U.S. Cellular became eligible to receive an estimated $10 million annually from the federal Universal Service Fund (USF) to build and expand wireless infrastructure in the state’s rural and underserved communities.
U.S. Cellular recently activated five new cell towers in an effort to bring better wireless coverage to Bunker Hill, Brighton, Benld, Wilsonville, and several other communities. The company plans to build more than 20 additional towers throughout Central Illinois by the end of next year.
As chairman of the Governor’s Rural Affairs Council, then-Lt. Governor Quinn, worked with the Illinois Commerce Commission to help U.S. Cellular obtain funding from the Federal Universal Service Fund. The fund was established by the United States Congress in 1996 to promote and increase the availability of quality telecommunications services throughout the nation.
Today’s event took place in Bunker Hill, in front of the Abraham Lincoln statue at the intersection of North Washington and Fayette Street. Governor Quinn was joined by Sen. Deanna Demuzio (D-Carlinville), Rep. Betsy Hannig (D-Litchfield), Bunker Hill Mayor Ray Chapman, Bunker Hill Chamber of Commerce President Bob Johnessee, Macoupin County Board Chairman Andy Manar, Macoupin County Economic Development Partnership Executive Director Shari Albrecht, and U.S. Cellular Vice President of Engineering and Network Operations Kevin Lowell.