Two Urbana Neighborhoods Getting Gigabit Broadband; 4 Others Close To Qualifying
Within a few months, two south-central Urbana neighborhoods will be connected to gigabit fiber-optic broadband.
And four more Urbana neighborhoods are also very close to reaching the necessary 50 percent commitment level from residents to qualify for a build out, according to Trevor Rice, market director with iTV-3, the company that is bringing high-speed broadband to Urbana and Champaign.
“We are very pleased with the response in Urbana,” said Rice. “Keep in mind, it’s not a computer making the decision where we build, it’s the individuals in the neighborhoods that show us where to go.”
iTV-3 has partnered with UC2B (Urbana-Champaign Big Broadband) to build out the UC2B network, which consists of seven fiber-optic backbone rings throughout Champaign-Urbana. iTV-3 is a subsidiary of the Illinois based, family-owned company that owns and operates more than 775 Family Video stores.
iTV-3’s promise: If 50 percent of the residences in a defined neighborhood are willing to sign up for its high-speed broadband service in advance, the company will spend the $300,000 to $500,000 to bring fiber to the home.
The company is also promising to start construction within 120 days after the 50 percent signup mark is reached within the defined neighborhood. Once started, construction should take about 10 weeks to complete.
iTV-3 engineering staff has divided Urbana into 66 neighborhoods for purposes of its build out; Champaign has 121 neighborhoods; and Savoy, 14 neighborhoods. Each neighborhood typically has between 300 and 400 households (houses or apartment units).
Urbana Mayor Laurel Prussing praised all those involved with UC2B over the past six years for helping the community get to this point.
“Thanks to UC2B, Urbana and Champaign, working with the University of Illinois, have pulled this community ahead of much of the rest of the country, including major cities such as Chicago and Seattle,” said Prussing.
UC2B began in 2009 as an intergovernmental consortium made up of Urbana, Champaign and the University of Illinois. UC2B was awarded approximately $26 million in federal and state grants in 2010 to build the fiber-optic network , with most of the money coming from President Obama’s stimulus program. Local governments and one business, Champaign Telephone, also contributed $3.4 million in matching funds. UC2B was later transitioned into a not-for-profit.
Completed in 2013, the UC2B network connects roughly 250 anchor institutions -- schools, government offices and churches -- as well as 75 businesses. As part of the grant, fiber to the home also was installed in several lower-income neighborhoods.
In order to provide service to the rest of Urbana and Champaign, the UC2B board approved an agreement in May 2014 to have iTV-3 operate the network and extend it throughout the cities.
In Urbana, two neighborhoods will be built out this summer and fall:
- The neighborhood bordered by West Florida Avenue on the south, South Vine Street on the east, and a stair-step boundary on the west and north. The west boundary starts at South Busey Avenue from Florida north to West Pennsylvania Avenue. The boundary then runs east along Pennsylvania to South Orchard Street, then north along Orchard to West Michigan Avenue. Then the boundary heads east along Michigan to South Race Street, then north along Race to West Iowa Street, then east along Iowa to Vine.
- The neighborhood bordered by West Florida Avenue on the north, South Race Street on the west, East McHenry Street on the south and mostly South Vine Street on the east (the boundary extends east of Vine in an small area near East Mumford Drive).
Additionally, four other Urbana neighborhoods are very close to qualifying for a build out, needing only six, 11, 19 and 22 signups, respectively, Rice said.
Three of those neighborhoods are in west Urbana and the other neighborhood is immediately south of Florida Avenue and west of Vine Street.
Rice said canvassers for iTV3 are currently working in various Urbana neighborhoods, seeking new customers.
The neighborhood boundaries can be found on iTV-3’s website, www.theperfectupgrade.com., where residents can also sign up for service. The iTV-3 map shows just how many signups are needed in each neighborhood to meet the 50 percent qualifying mark.