Illinois Governor Pat Quinn announced last week that a $100-million high-speed fiber-optic broadband Internet line that will cut across West Central Illinois has been completed.
The Illinois Century Network will run through 55 counties including Morgan, Scott, Cass and Sangamon Counties. The project took four years to complete and was funded with federal, state and private money.
Speaking to an audience at Illinois State University on Friday, Quinn stated the project created nearly 700 jobs expanding access to high-speed broadband services for schools, libraries, hospitals and Internet providers throughout Illinois.
“This is so important for not only jobs and job creation and business, it’s very, very important for our education, and by the investment that we have made, we’ve helped many of our school districts all across Illinois really be able to use the online educational tools that are available to their students now that weren’t available before we embarked on this project,” says Quinn.
“It really is important for education, for health care, for telemedicine, for our law enforcement.”
Lori Sorenson with Illinois Century Network and Quinn both stated that the completed fiber project will make the Internet a lot faster in Illinois.
“We have a network that’s operating at ten times the capacity of our previous network, and it’s going to meet the growing needs of our customers, our schools, our libraries, our health care for 20 plus years,” says Sorrenson.
“We have to be connected. We have to speed up all of our Internet speeds wherever we can, and that includes every single part of Illinois,” Quinn adds.
About 1,800 miles of fiber-optic cable are now in use across Illinois because of this project, according to the governor. The new network directly connects approximately 400 anchor institutions.
Bruce Giffin, the general manager of the Winchester-based Illinois Rural Electric Cooperative, explains that Internet retail providers like his co-op have agreements with ICN, and the providers will run fiber for either node-wireless or direct connections to customers.
Giffin says the fiber network is essential for the economic development of the area.
“The Illinois Century Network allows us to provide Internet service at ever-increasing bandwidth speeds for 4,000 consumers now. Everyone’s bandwidth requirements are continuously increasing, and the Century Network will make it possible for us to meet those needs,” says Giffin.
“We have been studying ways to bring our fiber to the premises in a number of communities throughout the service territory, and I would hope that over the next few years we will be able to fully implement that.”
To find out more about the Illinois Century Network project, visit www.illinois.net