Urbana-Champaign Big Broadband (UC2B) to Begin Signing Up Residents and Community Anchor Institutions for State-of-the-Art Broadband Network

TOMORROW, UC2B Community Ambassadors will begin canvassing the community to sign up eligible residents, businesses and community anchor institutions for the new UC2B broadband Internet service. Some of the organizations that will benefit from the network include Unit 4 Schools in Champaign, Unit 116 in Urbana, health care providers, churches, parks, and other non-profits.

The ultra-high-speed Internet service is part of a grant administered by The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and funded by the federal government as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Supported by the City of Champaign, the City of Urbana and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, in 2009 the cities and university entered into an intergovernmental agreement to form the UC2B governing body to administer the grant. Construction to build a fiber backbone throughout Champaign and Urbana has been underway since last Fall. Once complete, this network will offer as much as one gigabit of connectivity throughout the community.

Gigabit broadband makes Champaign-Urbana one of the best-networked cities in America. Several neighborhoods have been identified through the grant process as the first eligible for the low-cost service, with options starting at 20Mbps for $19.99 per month.

In these grant-eligible neighborhoods, residents qualify for service with no installation or equipment costs. The free underground fiber-optic connection is a $3,000 value. This builds property values and wires these locations for the future. In addition, fiber optics to each residence and institution delivers unmatched speed, security and reliability. Providing upload speeds that are equally as fast as download speeds—this symmetric connectivity is perfect for 2-way video calls, telecommuting, telemedicine and more.

UC2B will be signing up customers by door-to-door, phone and web contact. Only grant-eligible areas are available for the current round of installation. To see if your address qualifies, visit www.uc2b.net/servicemap; email ConnectMe@UC2B.net; or call 217-366-UC2B (8222).