Frontier and Carbondale, Ill. to build $1.5M 1 Gbps broadband network

The city of Carbondale, Ill., has hatched a plan to deliver a 1 Gbps fiber to the premises-based broadband service via the state's Gigabit Communities Challenge.

Built via a partnership between the city, Frontier Communications (Nasdaq: FTR), Southern Illinois University and Connect SI, a local broadband task force, the new network is being made possible through a $1.5 million investment supplied by Governor Pat Quinn's Illinois Jobs Now! Program.

With this funding, Frontier will build a high-speed fiber optic network to Carbondale's businesses, schools, hospitals and neighborhoods. While it has done some FTTP builds in Greenfield developments, Frontier has been in the process of upgrading last mile networks in a fiber to the node (FTTN) network architecture using ADSL2+, and plans to use VDSL2 to deliver services to homes and businesses.  

Among the applications the new network could enable are telemedicine and telehealth capabilities through the university's School of Medicine. This could help doctors in underserved areas in Southern Illinois transmit medical records and vital information quickly.

Governor Quinn has invested over $71 million under the Illinois Jobs Now! program to build out new broadband network infrastructure. This investment is complemented by a $214 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant.

Other cities that have won awards from the state's broadband program are Chicago, via partnership with Gigabit Squared, Aurora, and Evanston. To be eligible, the proposed project has to connect at least 1,000 end users to gigabit broadband speeds.

The network being built in Carbondale is a bit of an anomaly in that it involves a partnership between a major telco and a community.

In a number of other states such as California, area incumbent telco AT&T (NYSE: T) and cable MSO Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) have been working hard to either stall laws to improve broadband access, or to encourage laws that prohibit cities and towns from building their own broadband networks.

For more:
- see the release
- CivSource has this article

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