Fiber optic Internet installation underway in Champaign-Urbana

CHAMPAIGN-URBANA--A plan years in the making to bring high-speed Internet to Champaign-Urbana is finally underway.

Jenny Putman signed up for UC2B fiber optic Internet in July of 2012. Almost three years later, her service is finally being installed.

"This is just what's necessary to be a competent community," said Putman, an Urbana resident.

Champaign, Urbana, and the University of Illinois began exploring broadband through iTV-3 back in 2009. It's a high speed alternative to traditional cable internet that eliminates the need to share bandwidth with neighbors by creating a fiber cable that connects directly to the home.

"It really gives you the ability to be in the driver's seat for what type of speed you have access to the World Wide Web at," said Levi Dinkla, vice president at iTV-3.  

Work is currently underway to bring the high speed service to about 350 homes in one Urbana neighborhood. ITV-3 hopes to expand into about 90 other districts throughout Champaign-Urbana as more subscribers sign up. It takes commitments from around 175 residents in each area before installation can begin.

"Usually once we start that process, it takes anywhere between two to four weeks to get the neighborhood where it needs to be in order to build it," said Dinkla.

Thanks to grants from both the federal and state governments, neighborhoods with limited access to internet will also get connected.

"Because of that, the areas where you would say are traditionally under-served are served the best in this community anywhere," said Dinkla.

In Putman's community, fiber cables should be completed and high speed internet up and running by mid-July.
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