SBC says "fiber is an unproven technology"

SBC's Midwest Networking President, Kirk Brannock (currently serving on the Illinois Governor's Broadband Deployment Council) is getting his fifteen minutes of fame. He was captured on video at a public hearing stating that "fiber is an unproven technology."

It is an interesting assertion since SBC's networks would collapse without the tens of thousands of miles of fiber the company uses to run their entire phone and data system.

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High gas prices create booming markets

What you will rarely see in the mainstream media when they report on high gas prices is the booming new markets that are already emerging. This Wired article reports on the potential of ethanol as a fossil fuel replacement.

You can buy cars and trucks now that run on E85 fuel, which is 85% ethanol. In Illinois, where a lot of the corn that is used to produce ethanol is grown, the state is already buying E85 vehicles, and is about to start a statewide program to get more gas stations to install an E85 pump.

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Illinois wants broadband

It's great to see some thoughtful broadband coverage in local newspapers. This article from the Rock River Times [link no longer available] of Rockford, Illinois makes the case for communitywide telecom infrastructure. The paper makes the point that transport systems have always been important to communities and economic development, starting with canals and then the railroads. Government has always been involved, to one extent or another, and the railroads are a good example of a successful public/private partnership that reaped great results.

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Community fiber works

Princeton, Illinois provides some helpful data on a successful community fiber project. So why did the community decide to install 15 miles of fiber cable? Here's what the head of the municipal project said:

"Our primary goal was economic stability and some hope for economic growth," Baird said, noting that one of the largest companies in town moved out, taking with it more than 300 jobs. "We had some concerns from our customers that they were in the same boat because of a lack of telecom services."

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Chicago fights Illinois

Worried that state legislators are going to write the best laws that money can buy and pass an anti-muni telecom bill purportedly authored by the phone company, officials in the City of Chicago are trying to speed approval of a citywide plan to offer public WiFi throughout the city. The Register has a story on it, and here's another. [link no longer available]

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Northern Illinois grabs hold of the future

Northern Illinois, which is surprisingly rural in nature despite being a relatively easy drive to Chicago, has grabbed hold of the future. Below is a press release announcing an ambitious regional project to get affordable, high capacity broadband throughout that area. In announcing the effort, an official connected with the effort said, "The communication infrastructure we're talking about will be as important as electricity, water."

Northern Illinois Technology Triangle Unlocks New Opportunities for Northern Illinois Communities

Rochelle Municipal Utilities announces plans for a multi-gigabit capacity fiber optic ring to serve local rural communities

Rochelle, IL - Today, Rochelle Mayor Chet Olson unveiled plans for a superior fiber-optic telecommunications network labeled the Northern Illinois Technology Triangle (NITT). The network will provide multi-gigabit capacity to the Northern Illinois region, connecting communities across Northern Illinois and opening new opportunities for growth in education, research and business.

The NITT is a joint venture between Rochelle Municipal Utilities (RMU) and the Illinois Municipal Broadband Communications Association (IMBCA). It will provide a looped broadband fiber network in a triangle along I-88 from Rock Falls to Naperville, with a section north to St. Charles, and from St. Charles along I-90 to Rockford, and then along I-39 from Rockford to Rochelle. The physical infrastructure will be implemented in three parts. IMBCA has already leased existing fiber along I-88 from Naperville west to Rock Falls and is now negotiating leases for existing fiber on I-90. Rochelle Municipal Utilities plans on installing the remaining leg of the triangle, from Rochelle to Rockford, where no fiber exits. The NITT is the first municipal utility fiber optic network consortium in Illinois.

Chet Olson, Rochelle's Mayor, said, "We're pleased to play a part in bringing about the Northern Illinois Technology Triangle. NITT is the beginning of a new era, not only for Rochelle, but for all communities in this region that choose to access this network. For my community, it means an opportunity to expand our economic base from manufacturing and rail service to technology services and support." The network ring is based upon fiber optic cable and will offer 33 (or more) wavelengths, each with the capacity to carry data at a rate up to 40 Gigabits per second. With just one Gigabit connection, a family can download their favorite DVD movie in less than one (1) minute, something which would normally take 13 days to download using a telephone dial-up connection.

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