Regional Broadband Network Based At ISU Completed
By Willis Kern
Governor Pat Quinn is hailing the completion a regional broadband network anchored at Illinois State University as a major technological and economic step forward.
Quinn returned to ISU's Milner Library, where he announced the launch of the Illinois Century Network four years ago. The $100 million project has installed more than a 1,000 miles of high-speed fiber-optic broadband lines.
Quinn says the project put engineers, technicians, splicers, equipment operators and electricians to work.
“We had to build about a thousand new miles of fiber-optic cable and lay that fiber and trench it”, said Quinn. “But we also had fiber that was so-called "dark fiber" that wasn't lit up, so altogether it's about 1,800 miles of fiber."
Quinn says about 400 hospitals, first responders and schools will benefit across nearly 55 counties.
McLean County Unit 5 School Superintendent Mark Daniel says the initiative has allowed the district to cut technology expenses in half.
Quinn says, with the old 10 megabyte connection, it would take a movie ten minutes to download. He says that same movie can now load in 6 seconds over 1 gigabyte of broadband.
$62 million for the project came from federal stimulus funds. The state kicked in $24 million, with $10 million from university, local and private resources.
The new broadband network covers the following 55 Illinois counties: 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.