What in the world is UC2B?

The short answer is: those orange tubes you see construction workers putting into the ground all over town.

The longer answer is: Urbana-Champaign Big Broadband. Local government agencies, the City of Champaign, the City of Urbana and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign won a $30 million dollar federal grant through NTIA funding from theAmerican Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA -- also known as the "Stimulus Bill"), the State of Illinois and local agencies to install super-fast fiber optic cables for high speed Internet in local under-served neighborhoods. This funding was awarded to Chamapaign-Urbana to connect houses, apartments, local businesses and organizations in 11 census block groups that were significantly lacking Internet connectivity, in addition to several community"Anchor Institutions." These locations are able to connect directly to the network at no cost to the households/organizations. The proposed base speed of the network is 20 Mbps (which is very fast -- up to three times faster than current local service offered by the cable and telecom companies in C-U), with up to a 1 Gbps local connection (considered in 2012 to be among the fastest connectivity speeds on Earth).

The official UC2B.net answer is:

"UC2B is an intergovernmental consortium of the University of Illinois and the cities of Urbana and Champaign dedicated to building and operating an open-access fiber-optic broadband network throughout the Champaign-Urbana area. The project is made possible by a $22.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and    Information Administration (NTIA). The State of Illinois provided a $3.5 million grant and local matching funds added an additional $3.4 million to fund the project.

The foundation of the UC2B network will be the fiber-optic “backbone” infrastructure that will be constructed with the grant money. The grant also will provide “fiber-to-the-premises” (FTTP) connectivity directly to well over 150 Community Anchor Institutions throughout Champaign, Urbana, and Savoy and to households in several underserved neighborhoods in Champaign and Urbana.

This direct connectivity will enable improved access/support to health care, educational and recreational institutions, public safety and government agencies, and social service and religious organizations, as well as increased access to public computing centers. and a sustainable adoption and educational outreach program for vulnerable populations. Training, entertainment, and social networking opportunities will also be enhanced."

UC2B is structured to integrate new technology as it is developed in the future.  It is also compatible with wireless connections for wireless devices. For a very short period of time through the end of 2012, 2,500 homes and businesses in neighborhoods with low Internet penetration will have an opportunity to have fiber and equipment installed for free!

Call 217-366-UC2B (8222) or send an email to ConnectMe@UC2B.net to speak with a representative about connecting to UC2B.

For more, see UC2B.net