SPRINGFIELD – August 19, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn announced more than $106 million in federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds to improve broadband access across Illinois. Approximately $38 million in Illinois Jobs Now! capital funding and $23 million in matching funds from local partners helped secure the federal awards.
“Building information infrastructure brings jobs and high-speed Internet access to underserved areas,” said Governor Quinn. “This significant federal funding is a major win for Illinois and will support economic development across our state.”
The four projects will create approximately 600 direct jobs, invest more than $160 million into the Illinois economy, and directly connect more than 1,000 institutions – including schools, hospitals, libraries, police and fire stations – to ultra high-speed information and communication networks.
The nearly $62 million grant to the East Central Region of the Illinois Broadband Opportunity Partnership (IBOP) will expand and improve the Illinois Century Network to provide ultra high-speed access in 55 counties. It will also create more than 160 jobs and connect about 400 community institutions.
Through the IBOP-Southern Region project, Harrisburg-based Clearwave Communications will use a $31.5 million grant to connect 232 community institutions and create approximately 150 jobs.
The Danville-based Cellular Properties, Inc. project is using a $12 million grant/loan award to expand 3G wireless broadband service in 11 rural counties. The effort is estimated to create 267 jobs, and serve more than 7,000 businesses and 700 community institutions.
Grant and loan awards totaling more than $783,000 to Utopian Wireless Corporation will build WiMAX infrastructure in communities in rural McDonough and Clay Counties. This project will help more than 350 businesses and 100 community institutions.
"Too many Illinoisans don't have adequate, affordable access to broadband Internet - an essential economic tool," said U.S. Senator Dick Durbin. "This Recovery Act funding will make a significant investment in the effort to close that digital divide by increasing availability while creating good paying jobs in Illinois."
All of the federal funding was awarded competitively through the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service.
A longtime advocate of broadband-based opportunities in Illinois, Governor Quinn made sure funding for technology projects was included in the Illinois Jobs Now! public works plan. These four awards bring Illinois’ total ARRA broadband award total to more than $183 million and represents more than $267 million in new technology infrastructure investment statewide.
For more information, visit Broadband.Illinois.gov.