Gov. Pritzker Announces $50 Million Second Round of
Capital Funding to Further Statewide Broadband Expansion
Staunton, IL — Governor JB Pritzker announced Oct. 20 that the state is releasing $50 million in funding for the second round of matching grants through Connect Illinois, the state’s $420 million statewide broadband expansion plan. Illinois’ Office of Broadband will support expanded connections in new communities across the state through an application to be made available today, which will remain open through February 2021. Funding for the program is made possible by Governor Pritzker’s bipartisan Rebuild Illinois capital plan, the first comprehensive infrastructure program in Illinois in nearly a decade.

“Connect Illinois is the largest and best crafted state matching grant program for broadband development in our nation’s history,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “It leverages state dollars to bring federal and private dollars in, more than doubling the number of dollars getting put to work to upgrade our digital infrastructure and delivering demonstrable change to people’s lives and real opportunity for new business development and new jobs. The ability to plug in to the digital revolution revolutionized the lives and livelihoods of so many Illinoisans before COVID-19 – and the lack of fast internet access had unacceptable consequences for too many of our residents. Connect Illinois is about giving all our communities access to 21st century digital connectivity for health care, education, and economic opportunity.”
Bluebird Network joins iFiber Service Provider Partners
October 2020 - Bluebird Network, an Internet, transport and data center services provider, has joined the impressive list of iFiber Service Provider Partners.

Headquartered in Columbia, MO, Bluebird Network has provided high capacity fiber and communication infrastructure services to carriers and enterprises throughout Missouri, Illinois, and surrounding states since 1999.

Through several acquisitions, Bluebird has grown to be one of the most reliable fiber networks in the Midwest—serving both densely populated urban areas and under-served rural communities. Always focused on growth, Bluebird boasts more than 9,800 fiber route miles of high-speed broadband and fiber-optic connections, 54,000 on-net and near-net buildings, and 151 Points of Presence (PoP) sites across the Midwest.
As a valued iFiber Service Provider Partner, Bluebird Network offers iFiber customers a wide range of technology services. With network solutions ranging from dedicated Internet, ethernet, wavelengths and dark fiber, Bluebird engineers are prepared to craft a solution for even the most unique situations. 

iFiber helps promote safety at Planet Underground event
Illinois Fiber Resources Group (iFiber) participated in The Roundtable Live! on Sept. 24, 2020, in Manteno, IL. Sponsored by Planet Underground, it is a great annual networking event featuring a live job-site for those passionate about underground safety and damage prevention. Jen Uridil-Dolman, iFiber IT Technical Associate, is pictured above with the owner and staff of Planet Underground, sponsor of the event.Building a communal, mutually beneficial atmosphere—where end users mingle with their tool and equipment makers at a jobsite—has been the critical achievement of the event.
Pictured at the iFiber tent above are Jen Uridil-Dolman, IT Technical Associate, and Rachel Jurs-Lauderdale, Administrative Assistant. No other annual event features industry-leading utility contractors doing such things as pot-holing underground facilities, staging cross-bore demonstrations, and installing utility lines. For more information, visit
E-Rate Resources
E-Rate is a program of USAC that gives funding to schools and libraries through an open bidding process. USAC, or the Universal Services Administrative Company, is an entity designated by the Federal Communications Commission responsible for administering a roughly $10 billion fund that can be used to pay for Internet connections within impoverished regions, whether rural or urban. Eligible schools and libraries may receive discounts ranging from 20-90 percent on telecommunication services, depending on economic need and location. In Illinois, the Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS) has entered into state master contracts with vendors to support ICN customers for their E-rate category 2 purchases. The state has already conducted a competitive bidding process and selected vendors. Additional information is available on the iFiber website.
Monitoring Center
Northern Illinois Monitoring Center (NIMC) is designed to provide wide-area support for iFiber Community Anchor Institution network administrators registered with NIMC to access services. The NIMC number is 1-877-753-8100, where you will hear a message and asked to choose Option 3 to reach a live agent. This service introduced in July 2019 gives NIMC greater flexibility in updating emergency notification messages, as well as stronger metrics and measures to evaluate the effectiveness of this service. If you have any questions or concerns, contact us at  Network Administrators: Register your organization's authorized administrators at 877-753-8100.  Sign up for e-mail alerts for advance notice about maintenance on the iFiber network or notification of a network down at
Illinois Fiber Resources Group
P.O. Box 755, Sycamore IL 60178
(815) 753-8113