What Carbondale is doing: Carbondale has been at the forefront of fiber deployment in the Southern Illinois region. In 2010, Clearwave Communications, was awarded $31.5 million in grant funds to install a high-speed fiber network across a 23-county region of southern Illinois. This project provides gigabit service and has connected Carbondale to anchor institutions in many of the region’s rural and economically distressed counties.
In 2013, Carbondale formed a partnership with Frontier, Southern Illinois University, and Connect SI, and received a $1.5 million grant to build a fiber network in Carbondale. As the region’s first “gigabit city”, this network is up to 100 times faster than speeds currently available. These improvements will help us recruit new business to the region and enable SIU scholars, innovators and entrepreneurs to connect globally. In addition, the gigabit network has created telemedicine opportunities which has enhanced the ability of local healthcare providers to expand their services and capabilities. Our most recent project seeks to provide a robust wifi network throughout our downtown and adjacent neighborhoods which will appeal to the 60% millennial population for which Carbondale is home. Collectively, these improvements will offer Carbondale’s residents, businesses, and anchor institutions a state-of-the-art amenity that is unique within our region.