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|State Wants Federal Money for Broadband Improvements
|The state is applying for more federal money to improve internet capacity in underserved parts of Illinois.
In remote areas, the bandwidth is slim. "We are painfully aware every day of the lack of broadband in Southern Illinois," says Ray Cagle of Clearwave Communications, based in Harrisburg, which has plans to lay fiber optic cable in 23 counties.
Overall, the state will apply for close to $300 million to do create a fiber optic network throughout much of the state. Joe Mambretti, director of the Center for Advanced Internet Research at Northwestern University in Evanston , says it's as important as having electricity and roads in remote areas.
The application, which will be filed by Friday, will be under the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program. Illinois got about $30 million in a first round of funding for upgrades in the DeKalb and Champaign areas.
Among the problems caused by lack of bandwidth:
* Southern Illinois University in Carbondale has 300 megabits of bandwidth, but needs 1 gigabit to be a major research institution, Cagle says. The University of Illinois has about 50 gigabits.
* Community hospitals in rural parts of Northern Illinois do not have the bandwidth necessary to quickly send MRI and CT scans to other locations to have them analyzed.
The fiber-optic network will serve as a major thoroughfare for internet traffic. Individual homes, businesses and institutions will still have to purchase service from local providers, which will be making upgrades to the "last mile" connections from the fiber optic network to the customers' premises.
(Illinois Radio Network)
|03 22 10 by Newsroom
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