read more...

 
State of Illinois
Office of Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn

To: All Media
From: Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn (o. 312-814-5220; cell 312-485-1852)
Carolyn Brown Hodge (c. 217-836-6645) Jen Hoelzle (o. 312-814-4220)
  $4.5 million in technology grants to help Illinois bridge the digital divide!
What: Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn will announce the release of more than $4.5 million in technology grants - including more than $1.1 million to bridge the digital divide in East Central Illinois.
When: Friday, November 3, 1:45 p.m.
Where: Rantoul Corporate Technology Center, 601 S. Century, Rantoul

East Central Illinois to receive more than $1.1 million in technology grants!

This Friday, Nov. 3, at 1:45 p.m., Lt. Governor Pat Quinn will announce the release of more than $4.5 million in technology grants to increase low-cost, high-speed Internet access across the state of Illinois - including more than 1.1 million designated for East Central Illinois.

The Illinois Commerce Commission is releasing the Digital Divide Infrastructure Elimination Grants to help fund the construction of high-speed Internet facilities in underserved areas of Illinois.  East Central Illinois will benefit from $1,105,545 in grants to help build high-speed Internet infrastructure.  

In 2001, the Illinois General Assembly amended the Public Utilities Act to require Internet providers to offer advanced Internet services to 80 percent of Illinois customers by Jan. 1, 2005.  Recognizing that many carriers would be unable to reach this goal, leaving some areas in Illinois without high-speed Internet access, the General Assembly set up the Digital Divide Elimination Fund to increase high-speed broadband connectivity across the state.

"This is a huge step toward bridging the digital divide and spurring economic development in East Central Illinois and across the state," Quinn said. "Simply re-wiring the way we think about broadband deployment can result in a wireless Illinois." 

The following organizations will receive Digital Divide Infrastructure Elimination Grants:

  • City of Sullivan 105,545: Thanks to the Digital Divide Infrastructure Elimination Grant, the City of Sullivan is gearing up to deploy new technology to provide broadband access for economic and community development. The municipal fiber system, currently under construction, will be extended to serve high-capacity business needs.  The wireless system, already serving municipal locations, will be expanded to serve business and residential needs.  Implementation of a Broadband Over Power Line system will be used to provide services to areas where wireless and fiber services are difficult to provide.
     
  • USA Broadband $1,000,000: Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative, IlliCom Telecommunications and USA Broadband have joined forces to offer CONXXUS, a broadband Internet company that will provide high-speed broadband services to 13,000 rural residents in Champaign, Douglas, Edgar, Ford, Iroquois, Livingston, McLean, Moultrie, Piatt and Vermilion counties. 

Quinn will be joined by Sullivan Mayor Ann Short and USA Broadband President Barry Goodwin.

As chairman of the Broadband Deployment Council, Quinn is actively involved in improving high-speed Internet access for all Illinois residents.  In recent years, the Lt. Governor's Main Street program has awarded grants to help member communities Mt. Vernon, Quincy, Carbondale and Belleville bring their own downtown districts online.  For more information about the Broadband Deployment Council, visit www.IllinoisConnect.org.


City of Rock Falls--$75,000

In the 1990's the City of Rock Falls Electric Department started installing fiber optic cable around the city.  The Electric Utility is a member of the Illinois Municipal Broadband Communications Association (IMBCA) and through that membership the Electric Utility has secured a 10 year lease with the Illinois Tollway for the use of 2 fibers along an 82 mile stretch of I-88 from Rock Falls to Naperville. IN an effort to utilize the spare fiber capacity that was installed and assist in stimulating economic growth in the region, a broadband committee was formed in the fall of 2004 to look at potential uses.  After much planning it was suggested that the City lease its fiber optic infrastructure through a Public-Private Partnership with an established Internet Service Provider (ISP).  Essex Telcom, of Sterling, was chosen as the ISP business partner.  The City will lease a portion of its fiber optic infrastructure to Essex Telcom to provide high speed bandwidth services to the City of Rock Falls Commercial/Industrial customers.  Through this partnership each participant will do what each does best at affordable prices.  Essex provides reliable high speed internet services and the City of Rock Falls Electric Department provides reliable connectivity to its customers as it has with its electric service for over 110 years.  This Public-Private Partnership will allow current and future Businesses in Rock Falls the ability to compete in a global economy. 

Public Private partnership with a local internet service provider, to provide high speed bandwith to the commercial and industrial customers over fiber optic cable in the city limits of Rock Falls and within a mile of the city where they serve.


Clearwave/Delta--$413,975

The grant will be used to build out central offices in southern Illinois to provide competitive broadband service.  In addition, the grant will assist Clearwave in building out wireless towers.


Egyptian Internet Services--$32,063

Egyptian Internet Services, Inc. is building out wireless broadband service to the Southern Illinois communities of Cutler and Willisville and two other southern Illinois communities. These communities currently lack access to competitively priced quality broadband service. Egyptian Internet Services Inc.'s strong track record and history of providing Internet services throughout Southern Illinois make it a natural choice and preferred provider to the area. Egyptian Internet Services, Inc. has ten years of proven performance in the area of data and Internet services. Egyptian Internet Services, Inc. also has wireless broadband experience that reaches back to 1999. Kevin J. Jacobsen serves as Egyptian Internet Services, Inc. Executive Vice President and General Manager.


Mt. Vernon.Net--$69,250

Over the last 5 years, Mt. Vernon Net has been contacted by over 1,000 people have gone without broadband in rural Jefferson County-they have no access at all.  Thanks to the Digital Divide Elimination Fund Grant Mt. Vernon Net will be able to provide broadband access to the majority of these folks and will be able to expand their coverage area in Wayne and Franklin Counties where service was not previously available.


Heartland Communications--$968,750

Lack of communications infrastructure was cited as critical to attracting and retaining business in the area by a recent conducted by Lockwood - Greene. However the economic model for e-commerce is challenging in an with these factors stacked against itself - dense population, flat growth and high unemployment and poverty levels. Cost justifications don't merit the investment by private industry and public funds are scarce. The lack of private investment is evident in the demographics of the area. It is estimated only 10% to 15% of the over 260,000 residents have access to a form of broadband Internet. Of those, 75% are limited to one or two providers with excessive price points. The area covered by these projects reaches even further into rural areas where there are NO CHOICES for high - speed Internet.  Seventeen southern Illinois counties are included in this project-Randolph, Perry, Jefferson, Hamilton, White, Jackson, Franklin, Williamson, Saline, Gollatin, Union, Johnson, Pope, Hardin, Alexander, Pulaski, and Massac Counties.

HCIS proposes to build out a wireless network reaching several thousand subscribers bringing an alternative for a telephone services and a provider where none exists for high - speed internet service. This will be done through an extension of our existing wireless network adding Gigabit fiber optic cable feed to the towers necessary for backhaul redundancy and increased demands on the network of a larger subscriber base.  


ROC-Net--$850,000

The ICC Grant funds awarded to ROC-net will be used to secure dark fiber between Rockford, west to the Mississippi River and south to the Quad Cities.  It will also be used to purchase and install electronics along this route that will become the carrier class backbone for ten counties throughout North Central and Northwest Illinois.  Working with Prairie Shield and other partners the backbone encompassing the fiber ring will be built out to provide wireless connectivity to rural Illinois for broadband access and connectivity for emergency responders.  Counties to be served include:  Jo Daviess, Stephenson, Winnebago, Boone, Ogle, Carroll, Whiteside, Lee ,  Rock Island  and Henry Counties.


City of Sullivan--$850,000

The City of Sullivan is gearing up to deploy new technology to provide broadband access for economic and community development. The municipal fiber system, currently under construction, will be extended to serve high capacity business needs.  The wireless system, already serving municipal locations, will be expanded to serve business and residential needs.  Implementation of a Broadband over Power Line system will be used to provide services to areas where wireless and fiber services are difficult to provide effectively.  The ability of the City to provide broadband connectivity will strengthen the base of services available to attract and keep business and employment opportunities, and this capability has been significantly enhanced thanks to the Illinois Commerce Commission's grant program for Digital Divide Infrastructure.  Sullivan's ability to insure that its residents have access to affordable broadband connectivity will continue to make their city an attractive place to work and to live. 
 
In doing this, Sullivan is building its local infrastructure to make sure it can compete with larger cities.  In the major market areas, there are multiple communications providers that provide advanced levels of services.  In rural environments, the communications companies have not been able to invest sufficient funds to upgrade their facilities to all the levels attained in urban locations.  For that reason, small cities are increasingly taking steps to provide high-speed communications to their constituents.  In order to interact and compete within the national and worldwide Internet-based economies, Sullivan needs to be connected.


NITT--$1,000,000

The NITT proposes to provide services to a region that encompasses approximately ten miles on either side * east and west * of Interstate 39, running between Rockford (underserved areas included) on the north and Rochelle on the south. The land area is 545 square miles.  This will be the first phase of the NITT to extend services to a wide range of business and residential customers.  Portions of Winnebago, Boone, Ogle, and DeKalb Counties will receive services, including 12 separate townships.  The  population of the NITT region was 70,422 in the U.S. Census of 2000, and the number of households was 38,289.  There are many areas of the NITT region where there is no high-speed transmission service available.  The NITT wants to provide access to high-speed connectivity, which it sees as necessary for economic development.  The transmission speeds that are needed for businesses and residents to compete in the Internet economy exceed those that are now provided in the region.  The NITT proposal will provide affordable access to high-speed transmission for businesses and residents. 


USA Broadband--$1,000,000

Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative, IlliCom Telecommunications and USA Broadband have joined forces to offer CONXXUS, a broadband Internet company that will focus on providing a wide range of hit-speed broadband services to rural residents within Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative's 10-county service area-13,000 members in parts or all of Champaign, Douglas, Edgar, Ford, Iroquois, Livingston, McLean, Moultrie, Piatt and Vermilion Counties.  With CONXXUS, nobody in this area will be left behind in the digital age.  Broadband technology is critical for the economic development of rural Illinois.