Rural

The state of Illinois is quietly rolling out some broadband funding awards in round three of the Connect Illinois rural broadband funding program. The funding will cover some of the costs of deploying high-speed broadband in areas that don’t have service available today.

Two recent awards went for buildouts in Greene County and Kendall County. The award for Greene County is for $24.7 million, which will go to Frontier for a fiber broadband deployment. The award for Kendall County is for $15 million for a middle-mile network that ultimately is expected to be owned by the county.

The state of Illinois is accepting applications for the Connect Illinois program on a rolling basis.

Frontier’s Award

“Expanding access to affordable, high-speed reliable internet in unserved and underserved communities within our footprint is a huge part of Building Gigabit America,” said Veronica Bloodworth, Frontier’s chief network officer, in a prepared statement. “This will unlock significant opportunities for the people in Greene County for generations to come.”

“The Greene County fiber project will support economic growth and entrepreneurship and it will enhance agriculture, healthcare and education across the county and state,” said Pat Pinkston with the Green County Economic Development Group in a prepared statement.

The Kendall County Network

The middle-mile network in Kendall County will directly connect government agencies and will receive revenue from network users such as data centers or other enterprises.

The County has enlisted fiber development company Pivot-Tech to do the deployment, which will have total funding of $40 million. According to an announcement from Kendall County, Pivot-Tech will “bring more than $25 million in additional private capital and project-based revenue bonds to finance the project.”

The county plans to enter into a concession agreement for the finance, development, construction and operation of the network for an extended term. The county is expected to receive a portion of project profits and when the concession agreement expires, will own the network. At that time, the county would determine whether to operate or lease the network or enter into a new public-private partnership.

Additional information about Illinois broadband, including links to state resources, state-specific Telecompetitor coverage and more can be found on the Telecompetitor Broadband Nation page for the state.

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