(Litchfield, IL) September 25, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn on Saturday 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 Broadband Initiatives Program, which seeks to improve technology infrastructure in underserved parts of the country.
The project, a 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.
“Illinois has secured nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in federal broadband funding in the last year alone,” said Quinn. These investments will connect our homes and business, and provide jobs to thousands of hard-working people.”
Thee innovative effort began in 2006 in honor of the late State Senate Vince DeMuzio. The project originally sought to improve high-speed, affordable broadband infrastructure in Macoupin and Montgomery Counties. However, the 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.
The central Illinois 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.