NORMAL – Governor Pat Quinn today announced the completion of a nearly $100 million, four-year project to install more than 1,000 new miles of high-speed fiber-optic broadband infrastructure across 55 Illinois counties. Supported by the Governor’s Illinois Jobs Now! construction program, the project created nearly 700 jobs expanding access to high-speed broadband services for schools, libraries, hospitals and internet providers throughout Illinois. The network is part of the Governor’s agenda to create jobs and drive Illinois’ economy forward.
“High-speed internet access is a proven economic engine,” Governor Quinn said. “This expansion of Illinois’ broadband backbone will create jobs and drive economic growth for generations to come.”
“Investing in technology strengthens our public education system,” Illinois State University Board Chairman Rocky Donahue said. “I want to thank Governor Quinn for his vision, leadership and partnership with ISU on this project.”
To finish the project, engineers, equipment operators, technicians, splicers, laborers and electricians worked together to bury more than 1,000 miles of new fiber optic cable, and “light up” about 750 miles of existing “dark” fiber. All told, about 1,800 miles of fiber-optic cable are now in use across Illinois because of this project.
The new network directly connects approximately 400 anchor institutions, including community colleges, universities, libraries, health facilities, K-12 schools and public safety agencies. Local internet providers can connect to the network to extend Internet service into communities with few or nonexistent high-speed options.
Students throughout the state are already benefiting from faster access to online learning tools made available through the (ICN) investment.
“Our Internet speed is 25 times faster than before, with plenty of room for future growth,” Iroquois West Community Unit School District #10 Information Technology Director Brian Eggemeyer said. “The ICN’s increased capacity will have a positive impact on every student in our district for years to come.”
The project was funded by a $62 million competitive award from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) which was made possible by a $24 million commitment from the Illinois Jobs Now! capital program and nearly $10 million in other university, local and private resources.
The 55 Illinois counties included in the new broadband network are Adams, Bond, Brown, Cass, Champaign, Christian, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Coles, Cook, Crawford, Cumberland, DeWitt, Douglas, DuPage, Edgar, Effingham, Fayette, Ford, Fulton, Grundy, Iroquois, Jasper, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Lake, Lawrence, Livingston, Logan, Macon, Macoupin, Madison, Mason, McDonough, McHenry, McLean, Menard, Montgomery, Morgan, Moultrie, Peoria, Piatt, Pike, Richland, Sangamon, Schuyler, Scott, Shelby, St. Clair, Tazewell, Vermilion, Will and Woodford.
The project was coordinated by the Illinois Broadband Opportunity Partnership (IBOP), a statewide consortium of public and private sector partners organized by Governor Quinn and led by Illinois State University’s Central Illinois Regional Broadband Network (CIRBN) and the State of Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS).
Governor Quinn has invested more than $71 million in broadband infrastructure throughout the state as part of his Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction program. This investment has leveraged more than $250 million in additional federal and private funding. Through these projects, more than 3,000 miles of fiber optic cable have been installed across Illinois.
Illinois Century Network (www.illinois.net)