iFiber E-Newsletter 2nd Quarter 2020
Spotlight on iFiber Service Providers
Metro Communications Serves Broad iFiber region
As a valued iFiber Service Provider Partner, Metro Communications offers iFiber customers a wide range of technology solutions. Metro Communications is an established regional telecommunications firm that builds and operates networks serving the wireless, enterprise, education and wholesale markets.
Based in Sullivan, IL, Metro Communications was founded in 2000. The firm manages fiber-optic networks in multiple northern and central Illinois counties and continues to expand into new markets annually. 
“Metro Communications is locally owned and operated. Because of our size and scope we are able to assist more customers directly than a lot of our competitors. You have direct access to some of our most talented IT professionals and more,” said Zak Horn, President.
Metro Communications serves the following counties in iFiber’s region: Boone, Carroll, Jo Daviess, LaSalle, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside, Winnebago. READ MORE
iFiber Stands Behind You During COVID-19
Northern Illinois University and Illinois Fiber Resources Group (iFiber) understand how critical fiber optic service is to you and your customers during the COVID-19 pandemic. To that end, both organizations are committed to our customers and partners that fiber optic services are up and running. Our teams are taking the necessary precautions as advised by the University, and State and local health officials, to help reduce the spread of the virus while still working to maintain service levels.
 Whether you are a local government, nonprofit, medical facility, or a service provider to these and other customers, we will continue to work to keep you running and facilitate your operations. Northern Illinois Monitoring Service (NIMC) will continue to operate, answer calls, and notify for any interruptions or preventative maintenance. Should you require assistance, please contact NIMC at: 877-753-8100.We will be available for any questions or concerns you may have, and we thank you for being a strong part of the success of open access fiber.
Call JULIE Before You Dig
“April is National Safe Digging Month (NSDM). April typically brings a large amount of outdoor work which includes digging. Many homeowners aren’t aware they have to call JULIE (811) before they dig, whether it’s a small project or a large home improvement project. Putting in a fence, planting a tree or building a deck, knowing where the power, communication and water lines are before you dig will save a lot of time, money and pain later. About every six minutes an underground utility line is damaged because someone decided to dig without calling 811. The risk of injury, or even death is serious. Beyond the risks of death or injury, there is inconvenience, and costs of repair and fines. National Safe Digging Month is a way to remind us all to call 811 before starting any digging project. For more information on JULIE and the “Call JULIE Before you Dig” campaign, please visit  https://www.illinois1call.com/members-as-ambassadors/
E-Rate Resources for Schools and Libraries
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. NIMC now has an automated after-hours menu and a new after-hours Service Desk company. 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 sales@ifiber.org .   
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   www.nimc.niu.edu