With the help of a $1.5 million grant for the Illinois Gigabit Communities Challenge, Frontier Communications will build a Gigabit FTTH network in Carbondale, Illinois. The City of Carbondale, Connect SI, Frontier, and Southern Illinois University, which is based in Carbondale, will partner for this Gigabit network initiative. Frontier joins a host of service providers who are implementing some form of Gigabit network, which is coming to be known as next generation broadband.
Illinois’ Gigabit Communities Challenge, a $4 million program of Gov. Pat Quinn to promote Gigabit networks in Illinois, has spearheaded four projects to date, including the Gigabit Chicago project. All of these projects have had a university anchor participant.
“Capabilities for telemedicine and telehealth through the University’s School of Medicine will also impact citizens in underserved areas in Southern Illinois and allow for faster transmission of medical records and vital information,” a press release for the Carbondale project highlights.
This is the first Gigabit FTTH network for Frontier, although they inherited significant FiOS FTTH assets from their Verizon acquisition of a few years ago. Details about the Carbondale network are somewhat sketchy for now. In an emailed response to the question regarding how many homes this network will pass, a Frontier spokesperson replied, “The GigE project scope is currently being updated as the grant approval process was extended past the original timeline.”
Frontier will build and operate the network, noting they will invest significantly beyond the initial grant. “The grant dollars from Governor Quinn’s grant program provide a catalyst to build this GigE network in Carbondale. Frontier also has invested in this project, as well as, investing more than $191 million in its network throughout the state of Illinois since 2010,” said the spokesperson.
As for future Gigabit or FTTH activity, Frontier is being a little coy regarding future plans, saying “…our team continuously looks at new opportunities in broadband,” but not revealing any future FTTH network plans.