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September 18, 2010

Governor Quinn Announces Start of $70 Million High-Tech Infrastructure Project
Project Will Create Nearly 500 Jobs; Improve Broadband Service in Nine Counties

ROCKFORD – September 18, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today joined state and local leaders to announce the start of a nearly $70 million project to construct high-speed fiber optic broadband infrastructure in nine Illinois counties, including LaSalle, Ogle, Lee, Whiteside, Jo Daviess, Carroll, Stephenson, Winnebago, and Boone. Supported by $14 million from the Illinois Jobs Now! capital program and $10 million in private investments, the $46 million competitive federal award will create approximately 485 jobs.

“Investing in state-of-the-art information and communication networks is a great way to strengthen our economy,” Governor Quinn said. “Illinois has won over $240 million in federal broadband funding to date, funds that will connect Illinois homes and businesses, and put thousands of people back to work.”

The federal grant was secured through a highly competitive contest managed by the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The successful grant proposal was submitted by Northern Illinois University on behalf of the Illinois Broadband Opportunity Partnership – Northwest Region, a consortium of public and private sector partners organized by Governor Quinn.

“Broadband is an important economic tool, and too many people in Northern Illinois lack adequate and affordable access. Today’s federal investment will help close the digital divide,” said U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL).

“While the short-term impact will be significant, there is no doubt that this will generate enormous benefits for our region in the long-term,” said Congressman Bill Foster (IL-14). “Throughout the country, high quality broadband infrastructure has been the catalyst for industrial growth.”

This project is one of 17 broadband expansion 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.

A longtime advocate of high-speed Internet infrastructure improvement in Illinois, Governor Quinn made sure funding for technology projects was included in the Illinois Jobs Now! capital plan. For more information, visit Broadband.Illinois.gov.


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