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Video: Governor Quinn visits ISU to tout broadband network

Governor Pat Quinn visited Illinois State University on Friday to announce the completion of a nearly $100 million project to improve broadband Internet access around the state.

Illinois State played a major role in developing and building the new broadband infrastructure, which installed more than 1,000 new miles of high-speed fiber optic cable in 55 counties. The network has already significantly improved access and connection speed for libraries, hospitals, Internet providers, and schools, including Illinois State University.

Quinn spoke about the network Friday at Milner Library, surrounded by project partners.

“It’s important that we salute the University for its leadership over many, many years, in making sure that information and opportunity are available to everybody,” Quinn said. “This is one of the most important infrastructure investments our state has ever made.”

Pat Quinn takes a photo with students

Governor Pat Quinn takes a photo with Illinois State University students during a visit to Milner Library on Friday, August 1, 2014.

The overall project was funded by $62 million in federal money, plus $24 million in state dollars and another $10 million in university, local, and private resources. The project created nearly 700 jobs and was coordinated by a statewide consortium of public and private sector partners, according to the governor’s office.

“(Illinois State) was the epicenter of a 55-county, $100 million investment in faster broadband,” Quinn said. “That is something people are going to remember for some time to come.”

As part of the project, the Illinois State-led Central Illinois Regional Broadband Network (CIRBN) constructed more than 100 miles of new fiber optic cable throughout Central Illinois, including Bloomington-Normal and McLean County. CIRBN service began in July 2013, and today it is managed by a board of directors comprised of key stakeholders from the community, including ISU.

“Investing in technology strengthens our public education system,” Illinois State Board of Trustees chairman Rocky Donahue ’82 said in a statement. “I want to thank Governor Quinn for his vision, leadership, and partnership with ISU on this project.”

During his visit, Quinn compared the importance of the project with the creation of the interstate highway system. He said “we want everybody in, and nobody left out, when it comes to high-speed access.”

Quinn also visited Milner Library in 2010 to first announce the project.

“Illinois State University was proud to take a leadership role in this initiative,” said Interim Vice President for Finance and Planning Greg Alt ’81, M.B.A. ’94. “It serves as a reflection of our leadership in teaching, in research, and in public service for the citizens of the state of Illinois State.”

Check out more photos from Friday’s event:

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Ryan Denham can be reached at