NSF awards $6 million for smart gigabit applications in Champaign-Urbana and 14 other cities

September 14, 2015 (Washington, DC)– US Ignite has been awarded a $6 million grant from the National Science Foundation to build a living lab of testbeds for smart gigabit applications in Champaign-Urbana and 14 other communities throughout the country.  This announcement was made as part of a White House event, at which the Obama Administration made several commitments to support “Smart Cities.”

The end result of the grant will be a growing number of communities nationwide participating in a  “smart city app store” for interoperable and interconnected smart gigabit community applications addressing national priorities.

The three year, public-private project will knit together researchers, citizens, community organizations, technology companies, entrepreneurs, academics and federal, state and local governments to begin to build the next generation of the Internet in the United States. Participating communities include: Burlington, VT; Chattanooga, TN; Cleveland, OH; Flint, MI; Kansas City, KS MO; Madison, WI; the North Carolina Next Generation Network (NCNGN); Richardson, TX; Utah Wasatch Front cities including Salt Lake City and Provo, UT; Lafayette, LA; Urbana-Champaign, IL; and Austin, TX.

Each of these US Ignite communities will receive access to a low-latency and ultra-fast network with locavore (local cloud) computing and storage capabilities that will support highly interactive and visually immersive experiences not possible on today’s commercial Internet. Communities will also receive technical assistance from US Ignite staff and partners in designing and developing applications to take advantage of the new network connections including access to fund accelerators and technical staff.

As part of their participation, cities will fund and build two next-generation applications that will be shared among the larger, nationwide ecosystem of gigabit cities. The awards were granted to communities with strong support from local government, colleges and universities, non-profits, internet service providers and community anchor institutions.

Click here to read the full press release.


Champaign-Urbana Leaders Applaud NSF Grant

“UC2B and the University communities are poised to bring strong next-generation application development to support vulnerable populations as they become connected to broadband through the #ConnectHome initiative.  Access to next generation applications around education, healthcare, economic advancement, and green energy will elevate this community and will broaden the reach of next-generation knowledge.”
-Mark Henderson, CIO at the University of Illinois and UC2B Board Member

“The timing of the US Ignite NSF grant is perfect for UC2B and our partner cities. As any of the gig fiber projects nationally will share, it takes time to build a new network from scratch.  For UC2B we built the network and connected community anchor institutions and low-income households in the first phase with federal funding through BTOP.  We are now working through a public private partnership with ITV-3 to expand service to the other 90% of our community. And it’s exciting that in parallel the University of Illinois and the Urbana-Champaign private sector and high-tech community now have funding through US Ignite to continue to broaden opportunities for new research, development and community engagement to build next generation applications focused on public benefit.”
-Dr. Jon Gant, Director of the Center for Digital Inclusion at the University of Illinois and UC2B Board Vice Chair

“This is an exciting new opportunity for our community to further utilize the investment we made constructing the UC2B fiber optic network.  By becoming one of US Ignite’s “Living Labs”, Champaign-Urbana will continue to be a leader in the development of new applications and technologies that have the potential to change the world.”
– Mayor Deborah Frank Feinen, Champaign, Illinois

“By being part of this network of 15 smart cities around the U.S., our community will have the opportunity to host research projects using a faster, next-generation network. This new connectivity makes possible new Internet applications that are visually immersive and interactive. I am excited to see how our community takes advantage of this opportunity.”
-Brandon Bowersox-Johnson, UC2B Not-For-Profit Board Chair

“Urbana is delighted and honored to join the 15 American smart cities chosen to host research projects with our new high-speed internet system.  This new federal grant once again demonstrates the power of cooperation between the University of Illinois and the cities of Urbana and Champaign.”
-Mayor Laurel Prussing, Urbana, Illinois


Champaign Mayor Deb Feinen Participates in “Financing for Next-Generation Broadband” Event

Next Century Cities hosted Financing for Next-Generation Broadband, in Lexington, Kentucky. The half-day event brought together mayors, elected officials, business leaders, and community members to share best practices and discuss approaches to broadband financing. The event was held in conjunction with Broadband Communities Magazine’s larger economic development conference “Fiber for the New Economy.”
“Broadband financing is a fundamental component of successful broadband infrastructure projects, and our members want more information about available financing options. We are proud to provide a forum to hold these important and timely discussions,” remarked Next Century Cities Executive Director Deb Socia.

Attendees learned firsthand from regional leaders about the exciting movement towards increased broadband connectivity in Kentucky. Lexington Mayor Jim Gray opened the event with comments on Lexington’s plan to become the next Gigabit City, and Secretary Lori Flanery led the following panel discussion on how Kentucky is using a public-private partnership to achieve KentuckyWired, their statewide middle mile broadband infrastructure project.

Additional panels featured experts from across the country and covered a broad range of financing issues, including financing the last mile, federal support, public/private partnerships and more. The distinguished list of panelists and moderators included such leaders as Mayor Deborah Feinen of Champaign, IL, Dr. Robert Wack, City Council President of Westminster MD, Lev Gonick, CEO of One Community, Nicholas Hann, Senior Managing Director of Macquarie Capital/Macquarie Group Ltd, Joanne Hovis, President of CTC Technology & Energy, and Tom Coverick, Managing Director, Public Finance, representing our sponsor – Keybanc Capital Markets.

Next Century Cities has made audio recordings of all Financing for Next-Generation Broadband panels and will be sharing them with member communities who were unable to attend.

For more information on Financing for Next-Generation Broadband, visit:http://www.bbcmag.com/lexington/financing-next-generation-broadband.html


iTV-3 and UC2B Leaders Speak at Broadband Economic Development Conference

Levi Dinkla, Vice President at iTV-3, and Jon Gant, Vice-Chair of the UC2B not-for-profit board, participated in a panel discussion titled “Private Public Partnerships” at the Broadband Communities Economic Development Conference in Lexington, KY.

The discussion contained perspectives on building fiber networks from both the private and public sector. Communities that do not operate their own utilities, and even some that do, are finding that public-private partnerships (PPPs) may be the best solution for them.  Such PPPs can come in many shapes and sizes.  The session included a detailed analysis of the full range of business models—from full public risk to full private risk, and all the shared-risk variations in between. There was also an overview of the legal issues (state, local and federal) that may arise for communities in such partnerships.


September Board Meeting

The UC2B not-for-profit board will conduct a regular board meeting from 8:30 a.m.-10 a.m. on Tuesday, August 25, 2015  at:

713 Edgebrook Drive
Champaign, IL 61820

Meetings are held monthly on the last Tuesday and are open to the public.

To download a PDF of the board meeting packet, click the link below.

09.29.2015 – UC2B NFP – Meeting Packet

It’s happening! C-U Residents Connect to Gigabit Network

It’s happening! C-U Residents Connect to Gigabit Network

Installations Underway, More Users Plugging in Daily

It’s happening! C-U residents are being connected to some of the fastest internet speeds in the country. 

An initial round of installations began last week in the first Urbana neighborhood approved for construction earlier this year (generally bordered by Florida, Vine, Michigan, and Busey). The expansion of the UC2B network is a result of the unique public-private partnership between the UC2B not-for-profit and local telecommunications provider iTV-3.

This is only the beginning. Three other neighborhoods have been approved for construction, and additional households are set to be connected to the gigabit fiber-optic network in the coming weeks and months.

iTV-3’s ongoing expansion of the UC2B network adds to the approximately 1,100 households, 300 community anchor institutions, and 150 businesses already connected to the UC2B network. Champaign-Urbana has been a gigabit community since 2012 and was one of the first communities in the U.S. to construct this type of network.

While multiple announcements about “new gigabit networks” in other parts of the country have been in the news, Champaign-Urbana’s position is incredibly unique.

Right now, a fiber-optic backbone is already in the ground, a public-private partnership has been formed to expand the network, the construction and massive investment needed to expand the network is actually happening, and subscribers are being connected to the network! This expansion brings increased competition, choice, and innovation to the C-U market.

Additionally, earlier phases of construction are ongoing in other C-U neighborhoods. There are iTV-3 crews working to string fiber-optic cable down streets in the approved Urbana neighborhoods. Installing the fiber to each home and connecting users is the next step.  Stay tuned, the best is yet to come!

The photo below shows an iTV-3 installer connecting one of the first C-U households to the fiber-optic network.

“iTV-3 Showed Up, and Now This is My Internet!”

Ever wonder how fast iTV-3’s speeds really are? One Urbana resident shared his installation experience.

Below is an an email the UC2B and iTV-3 team received from a happy Urbana resident. 

I thought I would share my iTV3 installation experience from this morning… The very nice tech showed up exactly as promised at 8:30 AM, discussed options for installing the cable, drilled a hole, hooked it up, and now THIS IS MY INTERNET!

For comparison, this is my DSL service at a house on California Ave:

Download speed is 180 times faster, upload speed is 540 times faster. Comcast is faster than AT&T, so maybe it’s only 30 or 40 times faster than those guys. 

I bought an HD movie in iTunes just to see how long it would take to download (under 4 minutes for a 3.86GB movie). This download speed was probably limited by my WiFi connection (which is about 260Mb/s since I’m using an older laptop), not by the iTV3 link.



P.S. Currently the “wire” is just laying out in my yard. Apparently some time in a few days someone is going to come with a knife plow to bury it. If they do it the same way Comcast did last time, it is just a thin blade that is dragged through the ground, not an actual ditch.

P.P.S. I asked the tech and looked at the fiber coming in, and it does appear that there is no metal involved, just plastic and maybe glass. This is good because it eliminates a potential path for lighting surges. Last year I lost a cable modem and wireless router due to a power surge that unquestionably came through the network connection, not the power line (and my neighbor lost a TV). That will no longer be possible.”

Neighborhood Canvassing Continues

Look for iTV-3 sales reps wearing orange shirts

– iTV-3 sales crews are still canvassing in the neighborhood south of Illinois St. and east of Vine St. (South of Urbana’s City Hall).

– Teams are also in the Myra Ridge neighborhood, southeast of Windsor Road. 

– Canvassing in a variety of Champaign neighborhoods will also begin soon. Stay tuned for details! 


August Board Meeting

The UC2B not-for-profit board will conduct a regular board meeting from 8:30 a.m.-10 a.m. on Tuesday, August 25, 2015  at:

713 Edgebrook Drive
Champaign, IL 61820

Meetings are held monthly on the last Tuesday and are open to the public.

To download a PDF of the board meeting packet click the link below.

08.25.2015 – UC2B NFP – Meeting Packet

iTV-3 Announces Construction of Gigabit Internet in Two New Champaign-Urbana Neighborhoods

Two new Champaign-Urbana neighborhoods will soon be connected to iTV-3’s gigabit fiber-optic broadband services.

These neighborhoods, both located in Urbana, recently reached the needed 50 percent of household commitments for iTV-3 to approve construction. Construction is expected to begin in these neighborhoods within the next 60 days.

The neighborhoods announced today are loosely bordered by:

  • Illinois St., Vine St., Washington St., and S. Birch St.
  • W. Iowa St., Busey Ave., and W. Nevada St. (directly north of Carle Park)

By expanding the network where there is the greatest demand, iTV-3 is allowing Champaign-Urbana to decide where construction begins first. To see how many signups are needed in your neighborhood, visit the neighborhood status map atmaps.itv-3.com/champaign-urbana. Visit www.ThePerfectUpgrade.com to build a service package.

The ongoing expansion by iTV-3 adds to the approximately 1,100 households, 300 community anchor institutions, and 150 businesses connected to the UC2B network. Champaign-Urbana has been a gigabit community since 2012 and was one of the first communities in the U.S. to construct this type of network. Through the expansion and private-public partnership with iTV-3, households continue to be connected to ultra-fast speeds, state-of-the-art economic opportunities, education, and healthcare services.

Meanwhile, construction has started in the second neighborhood to be approved by iTV-3. Sales representatives are continuing to canvas neighborhoods throughout the community to collect sign-ups. The iTV-3 sales team can also be found in local Family Video stores and at the weekly Urbana Farmer’s Market.

Residents in the neighborhoods that are currently under construction or about to be constructed can still sign up for gigabit service. New sign-ups will still receive free installation, a savings of approximately $500!

Contact Trevor Rice, iTV-3 Market Director, with questions at Trevor.Rice@itv-3.com. Visit www.ThePerfectUpgrade.com to learn about triple-play packages, available speeds, and more.


July Board Meeting

The UC2B not-for-profit board will conduct a regular board meeting from 8:30 a.m.-10 a.m. on Tuesday, July 28, 2015  at:

Champaign County Economic Development Corporation

Meetings are held monthly on the last Tuesday and are open to the public.

To download a PDF of the board meeting packet click the link below.

07.28.2015 – UC2B NFP – Meeting Packet

June Board Meeting

The UC2B not-for-profit board will conduct a regular board meeting from 8:30 a.m.-10 a.m. on Tuesday, June 30, 2015  at:

Champaign County Economic Development Corporation

Meetings are held monthly on the last Tuesday and are open to the public.

To download a PDF of the board meeting packet click the link below.

06.30.2015 – UC2B NFP – Meeting Packet

iTV-3 Seeks Sales Representatives

The local iTV-3 sales team is growing!

iTV-3 is seeking team members in Champaign-Urbana to help spread the word about one of the fastest fiber-optic networks in the country

Please contact Trevor Rice, iTV-3 Market Director, at trevor.rice@itv-3.com with questions about the below position and share with anyone who might be a good fit. Thanks for your support! 

Position: iTV-3 Sales Representative 
At iTV-3 our services are transmitted over our brand new 100% Fiber To The Home (FTTH) network. This means that iTV-3’s fiber runs directly INTO our customers home. It doesn’t stop up the block somewhere like our competition. This makes us not only the new choice, but the better choice for Internet, Television, and Voice services in the Champaign/ Urbana area. We’re in the process of expanding our outside sales team and we want you to apply!

We are seeking individuals who are:

  • Self motivated, Positive, Outgoing, Friendly
  • Available to work weekday afternoons & early evenings
  • As well as weekends- A few hours anytime during the day Saturday

Working for iTV-3:

As a Door to Door Sales Professional, you’ll be responsible for signing up new residential customers within an assigned neighborhood. You’ll be visiting with residents at their homes and informing them about the benefits of switching from their current providers over to a 100% Fiber to the home (FTTH) connection through iTV-3.

With the iTV-3 team, you can expect:

  • One on One Sales Training
  • UNLIMITED growth potential!
  • $15-20+ per hour average
  • Make your own schedule
  • Build your resume
  • No manual labor
  • Fun atmosphere
  • Paid days off and benefits for F/T positions

At iTV-3 our product is better, our prices are lower, and our people set us apart!

If you meet these requirements and are interested in what iTV-3 has to offer then apply today at www.itv-3.com/careers.php?

Thanks and we look forward to hearing from you!


iTV-3 Announces Construction in Second Urbana Neighborhood

A new Champaign-Urbana neighborhood will soon be connected to iTV-3 gigabit fiber-optic broadband.

iTV-3 announced today that a second Urbana neighborhood in the area roughly south of Florida Ave., east of Race St., west of Vine St., and north of McHenry St. has reached the needed number of sign-ups for iTV-3 to begin construction.

Meanwhile, crews are continuing construction in the neighborhood directly north (the first area to gather the needed number of sign-ups) and are laying conduit and vaults down each street. In early May, local officials, iTV-3 representatives, and UC2B board members celebrated the kickoff of construction in the first neighborhood with a groundbreaking ceremony. Click here to view a recording of the event.

Additional C-U neighborhoods are very close to hitting the 50% commitment level and could see construction soon. Visit www.ThePerfectUpgrade.com to help push your neighborhood over the threshold. To download a PDF brochure with iTV-3’s packages, click here.

Contact: Trevor Rice, iTV-3 Market Director, trevor.rice@itv-3.com

Full Video: iTV-3 Groundbreaking

UPTV6 kindly provided audio and video support at the May 8 iTV-3 and UC2B groundbreaking ceremony in Urbana.

Click here to view the full recording on YouTube or view it below in your browser.

Click here to view the media advisory from the groundbreaking.