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The NTIA just sent out an official press release announcing that the infrastructure part of the broadband proposal submitted by a coalition of the two cities and the University is going to receive $22.5 million in federal funds for a fiber-optic infrastructure rollout.
Note that the SBA (Sustainable Broadband Adoption) and PCC (Public Computing Centers) parts of the proposal were rejected for Round 1 funding, so this increases the importance of submitting a strong application for those components for Round 2, in order that the infrastructure being contructed can be successfully utilized by the citizenry. The cities have 30 days to decide whether to accept the award.
Project description from the NTIA press release below:
The Urbana-Champaign Big Broadband project plans to construct 187 miles of fiber-optic broadband network to provide high-speed connectivity to area community anchor institutions and support fiber-to-the-home services in four low-income neighborhoods. Known as a leader in computer networking technology, the University of Illinois plans to bring its experience to bear as it works to close the digital divide in Urbana-Champaign. The project will directly connect 143 anchor institutions, including 40 K-12 schools, 17 social service agencies, 14 healthcare facilities, nine youth centers, four public library systems, and two higher education institutions. A majority of these institutions expect to receive their first high-speed Internet connection via this project. The project proposes to create a fiber-to-the-home pilot project for 2,500 low-income households to purchase an affordable high-speed Internet service plan from commercial providers. In addition, the project expects to spur affordable broadband Internet access for local consumers, including up to 50,000 households and 3,700 businesses, by enabling local Internet service providers to connect to the project's open network.
You can read the full press release here.