Community Profile:

Big Broadband, Big Opportunities in Urbana-Champaign.

Some households can afford access to broadband and others can’t. Some businesses are reaping the benefits of high-speed internet, and others aren’t. A digital divide with far-reaching implications is widening with every new development in network technology. But in Urbana and Champaign, Illinois, a powerful and affordable infrastructure is working hard to close that gap, putting the local community at the forefront of state-of-the-art broadband development.

Urbana-Champaign Big Broadband (UC2B) began in 2009 with grant funding from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to the University of Illinois. During the grant period, UC2B laid the groundwork and literal foundation for fiber-optic cable, connected anchor institutions, and provided families with broadband services.

The results? 1,058 households connected. 294 community anchor institutions provided access. 220 businesses benefiting from high-speed internet. And that was just the beginning.

UC2B has evolved into a collaboration between the cities themselves, service provider i3 Broadband, and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), where the Center for Digital Inclusion provides an important perspective on the community impact of access to information technologies. UC2B provides broadband Internet access to residences and business in Urbana-Champaign, including many subscribers who were previously unserved or underserved.

Today, Urbana-Champaign is a Smart Gigabit Community, offering citizens improved access to health care, educational and recreational institutions, public safety and government agencies, and social service and religious organizations, as well as increased access to public computing centers. It’s all thanks to the broadband infrastructure bringing everything together.

Not only are thousands of households in Urbana-Champaign provided access to gigabit fiber connections—they’re also directly connected to the UIUC campus network and everything it has to offer, including the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, the birthplace of the modern web browser. Talk about a great resource!

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