The University of Illinois and the cities of Champaign and Urbana have contracted wit next-gen networking solutions provider ADTRAN Inc. for the Urbana-Champaign Big Broadband (UC2B) Broadband Stimulus project aimed at bringing high-speed fiber-to-the-premise (FTTP) services to K-12 schools and to low-income and underserved communities as well as to provide high-bandwidth data services to businesses and Community Anchor Institutions.

UC2B is an intergovernmental consortium of the university and the two cities dedicated to building and operating an open-access fiber-optic broadband network throughout the Champaign-Urbana area. The project is funded by a $22.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) provided a $3.5 million grant, and local public and private organizations added an additional $3.4 million to fund the project.

The foundation of the UC2B network will be a seven-ring fiber-optic backbone infrastructure constructed with the grant money. The grant also will provide symmetrical 1 Gbps FTTP connectivity directly to more than 150 Community Anchor Institutions throughout Champaign, Urbana and Savoy; and to households and businesses in 11 underserved neighborhoods in the two cities.

“The UC2B project is very important to the Champaign-Urbana region as it allows a new subset of customers to have access to next-generation broadband services that will provide better connectivity to both public and private institutions such as health care, education, libraries, public-safety and social-service agencies and senior living centers,” notes Mike Smeltzer, director/Physical Infrastructure at the University of Illinois. “After extensive evaluation of competitive solutions, we selected ADTRAN’s Total Access 5000 to provide fiber-based gigabit connectivity to some 2,700 households, businesses and Community Anchor Institutions.”

ADTRAN will work on the first phase of the project, which then is planned to extend services to more than 10,000 residents in the area; no financial details of the contract were disclosed. The company’s broadband portfolio includes its “Total Access 5000,” whose a multi-terabit backplane was designed to allow new services to be launched to meet customer demand and to reach new areas previously unserved by high-speed bandwidth services. 

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