November 20, 2019 – Herb Kuryliw, Director of Sales & Business Development for iFiber and Dan Payette Executive Director of Blackhawk Hills Regional Council presented on the potential for Bi-State Regional Commission to partner with Blackhawk Hills and North Central Illinois Council of Governments in an Economic Development Agency (EDA) application to extend fiber optics into to the their respective region. They noted that iFiber would write the application and provide the required match.

What is iFiber  Mr. Kuryliw explained that iFiber is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization created during the Stimulus grant programs in partnership with local governments and other founding partners such as Northern Illinois University. It is now self-supporting and owns and operates a 900-mile, gigabit fiber optic network, which serves public sector anchor institutions such as counties, healthcare facilities, libraries, municipalities, public safety departments, and K-12 schools with access to broadband services.

Mr. Kuryliw said iFiber is a wholesale company that partners with local Internet and content providers to serve the private sector. It does not provide direct services but allows public and private sector access to needed resources for themselves and their customers.

This reduces costs for local and regional Internet Service Providers (ISPs) helping local and regional ISPs maintain a foothold and develop within Northwest Illinois. This introduces new competition wherever the iFiber wholesale network is located, giving public and private sector consumers more choices.

Grant Application  While the grant application has no deadline and would be made available through EDA’s disaster funding, the proposal is to make the application as early as late December. Bi-State would be asked formally to approve being one of the three applicants at a future meeting, potentially in December.