LITCHFIELD – September 25, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today joined Illinois business, technology and community leaders to highlight a nearly $12 million dollar investment in Central Illinois’ broadband infrastructure. Supported by $800,000 in Illinois Jobs Now! capital funding and private investment, the project will receive a more than $11 million boost from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Broadband Initiatives Program, which seeks to improve technology infrastructure in underserved parts of the country.
This project, which represents a unique public-private partnership between the state of Illinois, local governments, Norlight Telecommunications, Motorola and Royell Communications will expand the two-county Vince DeMuzio Rural Broadband Network to 11 new counties in Central Illinois. The project is expected to create more than 35 new jobs.
“It is important to have world-class, high-speed networks everywhere in Illinois – especially in our rural communities,” Governor Quinn said. “Illinois has secured nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in federal broadband funding in the last year alone. These investments will connect our homes and business, and provide jobs to thousands of hard-working people.”
This innovative effort began in 2006 in honor of the late State Sen. Vince DeMuzio, who Governor Quinn called “a strong voice for rural Illinois.” The initiative originally sought to improve high-speed, affordable broadband infrastructure in Macoupin and Montgomery Counties. This 11-county expansion will create a 72-tower network, bringing new high-speed broadband service to 190,000 residents, more than 9,000 businesses and 800 community institutions. The new counties include Bond, Calhoun, Cass, Christian, Fayette, Greene, Jersey, Morgan, Pike, Scott and Shelby.
Improved broadband and bandwidth capacity are crucial for public safety, education, health care and business growth in Illinois. This project is one of 17 highly competitive broadband awards secured for Illinois since February. These awards represent more than $350 million of investment in the Illinois economy, including nearly $245 million in federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds. The awards are expected to put more than 3,000 Illinoisans to work.
A longtime advocate of high-speed Internet infrastructure improvement in Illinois, Governor Quinn made sure funding for technology projects was included in the Illinois Jobs Now! capital plan. For more information, visit Broadband.Illinois.gov.