Project History and Milestones



1994 – The Champaign Chamber of Commerce forms the Champaign County Network committee (CCNet) to explore the potential of the Internet for the local community.

1995 – CCNet pilots an early cable modem technology with Time Warner Cable. A dozen local organizations are connected.

1996 – CCNet pilots ISDN service for homes and businesses with Ameritech. Several hundred sites are connected.

1997 – CCNet technical chair and local Internet business owner Mike Smeltzer proposes C-Unet-2000 to the Champaign City Council. C-Unet-2000 would have built a series of fiber rings throughout the community, and would have only taken 3 years – hence the name. He slightly underestimated the time it would take to get council approval for a community fiber network.

1999 – The University of Illinois releases an RFP seeking vendors to provide “high speed” connectivity to Certified Student Housing – primarily fraternities and sororities.

2000 – McLeodUSA builds a fiber network on the Champaign side of campus to serve Fraternities, Sororities and student apartment buildings. McLeodUSA rolls out “full rate” ADSL on the Urbana side of campus to serve those same types of multiple dwelling units (MDUs) that cater to UIUC students.

October 17, 2007 – The Champaign-Urbana Cable Commission forms the Broadband Access Committee (BAC) to explore broadband solutions for the community.

February 2008 – University of Illinois Director of Networking – Mike Smeltzer – attends an Educause presentation by John Windhausen who advocates a national fiber project to connect every home and business in the country to a publicly owned fiber network. Windhausen coins the phrase “Big Broadband”.

February 16, 2008 – Mike Smeltzer registers the Urbana-Champaign Big Broadband (UC2B) domain name.

March 2008 – Mike Smeltzer begins work on a proposal for UC2B – a local version of John Windhausen’s “Big Broadband” plan.

May 15, 2008 – Mike Smeltzer presents the UC2B concept to the BAC.

January 14, 2009 – Mike Smeltzer attends “State of the Net” conference sponsored by the Congressional Internet Caucus in Washington DC to learn about possible “stimulus” funding for Big Broadband, meets broadband consultant Joanne Hovis.

February 17, 2009 – Campus Information Technologies and Educational Services (CITES) sponsors a presentation by Joanne Hovis at the iHotel where she tells a room of 150 people about the coming opportunities for Big Broadband in the ARRA “stimulus” bill. President Obama signs the ARRA legislation that same day.

March 14, 2009 – UC2B logo created.

April 25, 2009 – GSLIS sponsors a public forum about broadband at GSLIS.

May 9, 2009 – BAC sponsors a public forum about broadband at the Urbana Free Library.

May 21, 2009 – BAC sponsors a public forum about broadband at the Champaign Public Library.

July 1, 2009 – The Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) is issued by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

July 2009 – UC2B Intergovernmental Consortium proposed to both City Councils and the UIUC Chancellor.

August 2, 2009 – Door-to-door survey led by students, faculty and staff at the Graduate School of Library Science (GSLIS) finds that 11 Census Block Groups in C-U qualify as “underserved” according to NTIA’s definitions.

August 3, 2009 – Urbana City Council approves the UC2B Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) and grant applications.

August 4, 2009 – Champaign City Council approves the UC2B IGA and grant applications.

August 2009 – With help from many people, Professors Abdul Alkalimat and Kate Williams from GSLIS write the two “Above Ground” BTOP applications – for Public Computing Centers and Sustainable Broadband Adoption. With a similar large group of helpers, Mike Smeltzer and Tracy Smith from CITES write the “Below Ground” BTOP infrastructure application.

August 5, 2009 – The UC2B team submits a request to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) for $3.5 million in support of the three UC2B BTOP proposals.

August 11, 2009 – DCEO designates $3.5 million for the UC2B projects.

August 20, 2009 – The UC2B team submits the 3 UC2B BTOP proposals to NTIA totaling $36.2 million.

September 26, 2009 – BAC sponsors a public forum about broadband at the Urbana City Hall.

December 8, 2009 – NTIA notifies UC2B that its Infrastructure proposal has advanced to Due Diligence. The other two proposals do not advance.

February 2, 2009 – NTIA informs UC2B that the Due Diligence process is complete (but still continues to ask questions through February 24th.)

March 2, 2009 – NTIA announces the $22.5 million award to UC2B.

March 16, 2009 – Governor Quinn and DCEO confirm their $3.5 million commitment to UC2B in a letter to the Champaign City Council.

March 16, 2010 – Champaign City Council votes to accept the grant.

April 5, 2010 – Urbana City Council votes to accept the grant.

April 7, 2010 – The University officially accepts the grant.

August 8, 2010 – UC2B Environmental Assessment filed with NTIA.

September 1, 2010 – Request for Qualifications for UC2B fiber engineering is released.

September 2, 1020 – A Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the Environmental Assessment received.

September 23, 2010 – The University’s Board of Trustees approves the UC2B project and the Intergovernmental Agreement.

November 18, 2010 – The University’s Board of Trustees approves the Shive-Hattery UC2B engineering contract.

November 23, 2010 – DCEO executes a grant agreement with the University for $3.5 million.

December 6, 2010 – The University executes contract with Shive-Hattery for UC2B fiber engineering.

December 20, 2010 – Request for Proposals (RFP) for Fiber-to-the-Premise (FTTP) Electronics is released.

February 8, 2011 – Shive-Hattery networking consultant Eric Lampland delivers report on the UC2B backbone ring design.

February 15, 2011 – Shive-Hattery delivers 50% design review drawings.

March 23, 2011 – The University’s Board of Trustees approves the KGP-Adtran FTTP electronics selection.

April 5 & 19, 2011 – Shive-Hattery delivers 95% design drawings.

April 28, 2011 – NTIA approves FTTP technology change.

May 20, 2011 – Shive-Hattery delivers fiber construction bid sets.

May 23, 2011 – Urbana releases backbone fiber and fiber to curb construction in Urbana RFP.

May 25, 2011 – The University releases backbone fiber construction RFP.

May 26, 2011 – Champaign releases backbone fiber and fiber to curb construction in Champaign and Savoy RFP.