Bluebird Network today announced that it had completed its 126-fiber-route-mile network build in Illinois, giving it a network of 11,000 miles of fiber and further expanding the company’s reach outside its initial Missouri footprint.

The recently completed Illinois network will connect the communities of Aurora, Dixon, DeKalb, Sterling and Rock Falls to Bluebird’s Midwest fiber footprint, providing dedicated fiber internet, data center solutions and cloud connectivity services to huge swaths of new customers. The build also provides a diverse route to Chicago. The new route to Chicago enables Bluebird to offer its data center solutions to more customers in America’s third-largest metro region.

Bluebird Network was established through a 2011 merger of Missouri Network Alliance, a statewide network owned by more than a dozen independent telcos, and Bluebird Media, a company that won a broadband stimulus grant to build a middle mile network in the area.

The Illinois build-out continues what has been a busy past few months for the company. An acquisition added fiber assets in Southern Missouri; and two builds expanded Bluebird’s network into Salina, Kansas and Waterloo, Iowa.

The acquisition and expansion have been made possible by Bluebird’s financial backing from Macquarie.

With the projects listed above and ongoing day-to-day fiber construction, Bluebird will have built nearly 290 miles of new owned fiber, connected 441 new on-net buildings, and installed 1,386 additional access points in the past year.

“This is an important strategic build for Bluebird Network and I’m incredibly excited about it,” Michael Morey, Bluebird Network president and CEO, said in a prepared statement. “Our vision is to have a fiber presence in 80% of communities across our 11-state footprint with reach to a population greater than 10,000 people. This expansion across Illinois gets us closer to realizing our vision.”

“The new fiber route miles and on-net buildings speak for themselves,” added Jamie Scott, Bluebird Network, director of outside plant, in a prepared statement. “The large number of access points – locations where we splice new fiber – we added this year, allows our engineering and sales teams to be more flexible and reach more customers throughout our network.”

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