News from Broadband Illinois, May 17th, 2012

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Revitalizing Downtown Springfield with Broadband

Although our staff travels throughout the state each week to convene eTeams, meet with stakeholders, and collaborate with providers and community members, our physical home is in the heart of Downtown Springfield. Our new 5th floor space, overlooking the Old State Capitol,  is a beautiful example of the work that’s been done to revitalize the area and attract new businesses.
The Springfield Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony this week to officially welcome us to the area and we look forward to working with the organization to emphasize the importance of broadband in economic development. 

The Central eTeam (which includes Sangamon county) is gearing up for its first meeting on June 14. Coordinators are working to gather a wide assortment of providers, stakeholders, government officials, community anchor institutions, and broadband enthusiasts to discuss needs and assets in the twelve-county area. To learn more about plans for the Central eTeam, contact Clayton Black.
Like our Facebook page to see photos from the Ribbon Cutting, Downtown Springfield’s Upper Story tour, and other events. 

Spotlight on Cass Communications

“Broadband is no longer a luxury service. It is something people need urgently and it’s becoming a necessity,” said Chad Winters, Cable TV Manager at Cass Communications.

Cass Communications (CASSCOMM) has a long history as a privately owned company. Starting as a telephone company in 1889, it has expanded into a multi-tiered communications hub, offering fiber, cable, fixed wireless and DSL. The company prides itself on making acquisitions with an eye towards the future.

“Any improvements we are doing are fiber,” said Winters. ‘We are trying to reach out to the demand of the unserved and underserved regions while deliberately building up its infrastructure. For our new builds and upgrades, we focus on using fiber since it gives our customers the best of the best and allows for more bandwidth delivery. “

Current projects include a new fiber plant in Manchester which will serve the nearly 150 homes there. Another project in Brighton includes fiber service that will pass approximately 1,280 homes when the upgrade of a coaxial plant and the construction of a new fiber plant is completed this month.
“Every community we serve is unique and has to be looked at individually.  We consider factors such as the population, terrain, and proximity to our existing plant,” said Winters.

In the small community of Literberry, fiber and wireless service is available to every home thanks to the proximity to a 300-foot tower constructed by Cass. The tower offers WiMax internet service to more than 113 subs (homes) with speeds ranging from 3mbps to 10mpbs. 

Visit updated provider pages, including Cass Communication's, on the Broadband Illinois website.

Southwest Central eTeam Hosts First Gathering in Edwardsville

The eight-county Southwest Central eTeam region includes a state university, an air force base that employs more than 6,000 people, and a shared border with a major U.S. city.

On May 15, thirty-seven community leaders, providers and stakeholders met at Lewis and Clark Community College in Edwardsville to discuss the region’s high-speed internet assets and needs. The meeting, facilitated by Broadband Illinois, included representatives from the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Kaskaskia College and Lewis and Clark Community College.

Barbara Webster, eTeam coordinator, presented information on new internet builds, Governor Quinn’s Illinois Gigabit Challenge, and resources offered by Broadband Illinois. Although some counties lack infrastructure, a large portion of the region has excellent access and speeds. Marketing these areas and focusing on adoption will be a big issue in these areas, said Webster. 
The Southwest Central eTeam will convene again in July. Stay tuned to their events page for upcoming news and information.

Upcoming Events: SHLB conference

Schools, Health & Libraries Coalition (SHLB) Conference- "Creating Sustainable Broadband Solutions for Communities and Anchor Institutions" Tuesday, May 22–24, 2012 at Sheraton National Hotel, Arlington, VA.

"This national conference, co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce, will focus on the broadband needs of schools, libraries and other anchor institutions, providing them the knowledge and information they need to acquire affordable high-speed connections to the Internet so that they can improve educational, medical, and other online services to meet the needs of their communities,” said John Windhausen, Jr., director of SHLB Coalition.

Broadband Links

USDA Invites Applications for Grants to Provide Broadband Service to Remote Rural Communities 

Telemedicine: The New Pulse of Rural Health Care 

Nigeria: Bridging Digital Divide Through Broadband
531 East Washington, 5th Floor
Springfield, IL 62701
Phone: (217) 280-4066
Fax: (217) 718-4546

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

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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