A huge milestone in the iFiber project has been reached, board Chair John L. Lewis says.
“Eighty percent of the Core Network is online transmitting at 100 gigabit speeds,” Lewis says. “This is cutting-edge technology, and the iFiber network is the first to deploy broadband speeds of 100 gigabits in this rural region.”
The remaining 20 percent of the core ring is in the process of being deployed and will be complete soon, iFiber engineers say.
Construction of the nearly 900-mile network began in early 2011 in the counties of Boone, Carroll, Jo Daviess, LaSalle, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside and Winnebago.
Network engineers designed the Core Network for speed and reliability. The Core Network links a wide circle of core distribution sites from Savanna to Shannon to Rockford, DeKalb and Peru. The network was built for redundancy to enhance its security and reliability.
Simultaneous to the Core Network sites being deployed, Community Anchor Institutions (CAIs) have begun receiving iFiber equipment to allow connection into the network over the next several months.
CAIs also are working with iFiber’s regional Outreach Team to select Internet Service Providers that will provide everything from Internet connection to VoIP, cloud-based services and off-site data storage.
In September 2010, NIU received (as the fiscal agent) a $69 million BTOP grant to deploy the iFiber network to leverage broadband technology for improvements in rural education, health care, economic development and public safety. iFiber was established as a not-for-profit entity in January 2011.
“iFiber will work with existing providers in the region to build out and expand its network to provide last-mile service to businesses and individual homes,” Lewis says.