News from Broadband Illinois, April 18th, 2012

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Message from Drew Clark, Executive Director

Next week, telecommunications leaders from across the country will gather in Dallas to participate in the Rural Telecommunications Congress, as part of the Broadband Communities 2012 Summit. Whether broadband is made available over copper wires, cable lines or via wireless transmission, fiber-optic connections are vital to next-generation internet technologies. This summit will bring together many of the major players in this space.
Of particular interest to Illinoisans is the Rural Telecommunications Congress, which is dedicated to ensuring rural citizens have access to the technologies they need to survive. RTC has a rich history in Illinois, and its 2007 gathering here in Springfield played an important part in fostering the community of broadband enthusiasts engaged by Gov. Pat Quinn’s Broadband Deployment Council.
At the RTC event in Dallas on Thursday, the first panel on broadband usage will consider the Federal Communications Commission’s finding that 100 million American’s don’t have broadband at home – and what that means for economic development. A second discussion will explore how rural fiber, wireless broadband, and mobile devices can be leveraged to develop intentionally innovative rural communities. In the afternoon, I will lead a discussion on the role that broadband maps are becoming tools of immeasurable value for business recruitment, real estate construction and quality of life, and the concluding session will focus on how the State Broadband Initiatives can become a vital force for the long term.

We'll also be bringing the newly-updated Illinois broadband map for display and feedback. 

Spotlight on Jo-Carroll Energy, Inc.

Jo-Carroll Energy, Inc. has worked for more than 75 years to enhance  the quality of life for Northwestern Illinois residents by delivering energy services to farmers, business, and households. 

The co-op partnered with Sand Prairie Wireless and invested in state-of-the-art equipment and infrastructure. As a result, Sand Prairie is now able to provide reliable, high-speed Internet to rural customers who were previously without service.

The co-op continues to expand and now oversees more than 90 points of presence in five counties as well as in parts of Wisconsin. A recent acquisition of a small WISP expanded coverage further into Jo Daviss and Carroll counties.

“Our goal is to provide coverage to all members that want it and to provide service where it makes sense,” said Jeff Harrelson, Broadband Manager. “We’re also working to integrate our energy services with our wireless infrastructure.”
Visit updated provider pages,including Jo-Carroll's, on the Broadband Illinois website.

Southeast Central eTeam plans for busy Spring

The Southeast Central eTeam is slated for an active Spring with events scheduled throughout the 13-county region. The team convened March 22 at Lakeland Community College in Mattoon to discuss adoption, access and training needs throughout the area. 
Providers in the region are continuing to make an impact. Metro Communications recently set up new broadband hookups for local schools, Frontier Communications activated new service to Joppa and Ridgeway, and Joink Communications has partnered with a water company to serve a rural area in Crawford County.
Lakeland Community College and the Effingham Library have multiple computer and technology courses scheduled throughout April. Classes are free and open to the public and designed for learners of all ages.
On April 19, the University of Illinois Extension, Illinois Century Network, and Broadband Illinois will host a meeting for community leaders, businesses, residents, and providers to network and discuss the broadband needs of Clark County. Providers are invited to share information about new builds in their area. 

Upcoming Events and Activities

Clark County High Speed Internet (Broadband) Deployment Meeting - 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 19 at Clark County Farm Bureau Building, Martinsville
eChicago 2012 - 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on Friday-Saturday, April 20-21 at University of Illinois, Chicago
Broadband Deployment Council Meeting- 2 p.m. on Friday, April 20 at Springfield and Chicago

Want to Work for Better Broadband?

We're searching for two full-time team members to join our Broadband-enthused not-for-profit. Our new office in in the heart of Downtown Springfield and both positions offer excellent benefits, competitive salaries, and an opportunity to make a difference for Illinois. 

The first position is for a Springfield-based 'Better Broadband, Better Lives' Program Manager who will oversee an innovative grant program focused on job creation and economic growth throughout the state.

We are also looking for a Regional eTeam Network and Technology Facilitator who will be based out of the Chicagoland region.

Learn More About Broadband

"What is a megabyte?" - Everyone with a mobile device is going to have to start paying more attention as wireless carriers turn to limited data plans. But how many megabytes are in a movie? Source:

“Why one in five U.S. adults doesn't use the Internet” - Even though the Internet has become a key tool for accessing services, getting an education, finding jobs, getting the news, keeping up with people you know and much more, one in five U.S. adults still does not use the Internet at all, according to a new Pew report. Source:
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Want to work for Better Broadband and Better Lives in Illinois? Know someone who does? See our Job Opportunites page and send resumes to

Have an event, announcement, or feedback you'd like to share? Let us know and we'll include it in a future newsletter. 

The Partnership for a Connected Illinois, Inc. (PCI), is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Springfield, Illinois. Its missions are to ensure broadband access throughout the State of Illinois, maximize broadband’s impact and use, and collect and publish broadband-related data, information, and research. 

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Broadband Illinois has a 3-fold mission to: collect and publish broadband data, ensure broadband access throughout the State, and maximize broadband's impact.

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Partnership for a Connected Illinois 531 E Washington, 5th Floor Springfield, IL 62701 Phone: (217) 886-4228 Fax: (217) 718-4546