Illinois State University’s Board of Trustees approved a capital project to extend high-speed low-cost Internet connectivity in unserved or underserved areas in Central Illinois. The work, in collaboration with Central Management Services and other Central Illinois Partners, will cost $15.36 million, which will be funded by a federal and state grant.

The project will address the inadequacy, cost and capacity of broadband service in 250 facilities in 19 Central Illinois communities from six different counties. The high-speed, low-cost infrastructure will connect education, public safety, healthcare, government, business, libraries, not-for-profits and service providers.

More than 49 partners have joined Illinois State University in support of the Central Illinois Regional Broadband Network (CIRBN) project. CIRBN has joined efforts with Central Management Services in a combined project to be completed by July 31, 2013, which will create the Illinois Broadband Opportunity Program – East Central (IBOP-EC). Upon completion of the project, the University will transfer operational responsibility to a non-profit limited liability company, which will have representatives of organizations served by the new network.

The benefit of the project for Illinois State will be more Internet capacity at a lower cost and high-speed access for off-campus facilities with no additional capital investments.