CHICAGO – February 19, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today announced more than $13 million to improve broadband access in northern Illinois. The funding includes $1.3 million in Illinois Jobs Now! capital funds for the DeKalb Advancement of Technology Authority (DATA), which will leverage $11.9 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) funding.
“Access to affordable high-speed internet is critical in today’s economy. Unfortunately, too many people in Illinois are being left out of the broadband revolution,” said Governor Quinn. “This important funding will expand broadband access to communities throughout northern Illinois and help ensure no one is left out.”
The DATA is a consortium of public and private entities created to support high-speed, low-cost broadband infrastructure solutions in the DeKalb region. The grant will go toward providing broadband access to schools, colleges and universities, municipalities, medical facilities and other community agencies that will serve as a link to the larger community. The DATA plan will potentially serve more than 3,600 businesses and 34,000 households with fiber or low-cost broadband services.
According to the DATA, construction of the fiber-optic cable network is expected to create more than 20 construction jobs over the next two to three years. As the network expands, it is expected to add up to 30 highly technical jobs in the DeKalb area to support it. The proposed network will cost approximately $14.8 million to build over the next two years.
The federal funding was awarded through the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP). The State of Illinois has designated a total of $50 million in state funds as a match for exceptional projects that are awarded federal BTOP funding. In addition to providing the matching grants, the state provided technical grant writing assistance to Illinois-based ARRA applicants.
A long-time advocate of improving the state’s broadband access, Governor Quinn has taken many steps to ensure connectivity in all areas of Illinois. Illinois recently received $1.8 million in funding for broadband data collection, mapping and planning activities. For more information on the state’s broadband efforts, visit www.broadband.illinois.gov.
Governor Quinn was joined at today’s announcement by Lawrence E. Strickling, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information, NTIA, U.S. Department of Commerce; U.S. Rep. Bill Foster (D-Ill.); State Sen. Brad Burzynski (R-Clare); State Rep. Robert Pritchard (R-Hinckley); Ruth Ann Tobias, Chairman, DeKalb County Board; and Herb Kuryliw, Network and Technology Architect, Northern Illinois University.