BLOOMINGTON – September 8, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today announced the launch of a nearly $100 million project to construct more than 1,000 new miles of high-speed fiber optic broadband infrastructure in 55 Illinois counties. Supported by Illinois Jobs Now! capital funding, a $62 million competitive federal award will modernize Illinois’ high-tech infrastructure, creating approximately 676 jobs and serving more than 285,000 businesses and nearly four million households.
“This expansion of Illinois’ information infrastructure will bring new jobs, education, health and public safety opportunities to underserved areas throughout our state,” said Governor Quinn. “These public-private partnerships are imperative for successful community development and economic growth.”
The successful grant proposal was submitted on behalf of the Illinois Broadband Opportunity Partnership, a statewide consortium of public and private sector partners organized by Governor Quinn and led by Illinois State University and the Illinois Department of Central Management Services. The U.S. Department of Commerce awarded $62 million in competitive federal funds for the project. State and private sources, including $26 million from the Illinois Jobs Now! capital program, make up more than $34 million of the total budget.
This project is one of 13 broadband expansion awards secured for Illinois since February. These awards represent more than $250 million of investment in the Illinois economy, including $174 million in federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds. Together, the projects are expected to create or retain more than 2,000 Illinois jobs.
Upon completion, the fiber-optic broadband network will connect 3,138 anchor institutions, including 21 community colleges across 55 counties in Illinois. Residential broadband service providers will be able to affordably extend their services into unserved or underserved communities with a potential to reach an additional 5,861 community anchors, 285,410 businesses and 3,931,975 households.
Forty-seven of the 55 counties in the proposed service area are underserved with residential broadband subscription rate of less than 40 percent. Thirteen of the counties are economically distressed with above-average unemployment rates and low median incomes.
A longtime advocate of broadband-based opportunities in Illinois, Governor Quinn made funding for technology projects a priority and included it in the Illinois Jobs Now! capital program. For more information, visit Broadband.Illinois.gov.