One project buries slow Internet speeds, organizations will see - – Rockford’s News Leader

One project buries slow Internet speeds, organizations will see results soon

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When it comes to Internet connection, no speed is too quick, but northwestern Illinois communities will soon see online speeds up to 500 times faster than now. You'll be able to witness these improvements right before your eyes but the key is below the surface.

The solution lies in 620 miles of underground fiber optic cable. Laying down this cable and getting everyone connected across the region is an on-going project, but, in just half a year some organizations can log on.

"The whole network will be up and operating by mid-summer 2013." -says Illinois Fiber Resources Group Chairman John Lewis.

iFiber project leaders say they're right on schedule.

"Over the last year and half we've been able to install about 80% of the underground part of the network. We have fiber blown into about 90% of that." -says Lewis.

At the beginning of 2013, workers will get equipment into Community Anchor Institutions, or CAIs. Winnebago and Boone counties' CAIs can use the network at the end of the year's first quarter.

"These CAIs are school districts, city hall, county township buildings, some libraries, some police and fire departments, and some non-profit health care organizations." -Lewis says.

Lewis says the next step is getting high-speed Internet to individuals, not just organizations.

"We're going to start a real push in the next six months to working with the local Internet providers and with the private sector, and put together a model that will allow the infrastructure to be used and serve households and businesses throughout the region." -he adds.

Some smaller communities were not covered in the $69,000,000 grant that's paying for the project. Managers will be working with the region's existing ISPs to expand the network.

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