UC2B (Urbana-Champaign Big Broadband) has formed a partnership with iTV-3 to operate and extend fiber-optic broadband in Urbana and Champaign. iTV-3 will operate the existing UC2B network and will extend gigabit fiber-optic internet services to more areas of the community. C-U will be among the few elite communities in the U.S. with gigabit fiber-optic internet.
The partnership gives every area of Champaign-Urbana an equal opportunity to receive gigabit service. iTV-3, a Family Video company, will be taking online subscriptions for households and businesses at www.theperfectupgrade.com and information for signing up will be available in person at C-U’s 3 Family Video stores. iTV-3 agrees to build fiber infrastructure in any area of the community where 50% of the potential customers subscribe.
“We are excited to be bringing fiber optic service to the communities of Champaign and Urbana. I would like to specifically thank the Cities of Champaign and Urbana, their elected officials, the University of Illinois, and the team at UC2B for working so hard to make this opportunity possible. We look forward to bringing a 100% fiber to the home and business network and gigabit Internet service to the people of Champaign and Urbana,” says iTV-3 President Keith Hoogland.
“In the 21st Century a few American cities stand out with regards to successfully combining a dynamic cultural landscape and economic prosperity. Champaign, like Chattanooga, Kansas City and Austin, has recently received national and international accolades running the gamut from arts and music to sustainability, livability and opportunities. We now join these cities as part of an elite group of communities which will experience all the benefits of broadband fiber with this partnership. Champaign, Urbana, the University of Illinois and the private sector are moving forward together to lead the U.S. in prosperity and growth in the new frontier with what is undoubtedly the next great revolution,” says Champaign Mayor Don Gerard.
Urbana Mayor Laurel Prussing recognized the positive local impact of the project, saying, “This has been a great example of cooperation between Urbana, Champaign and the University of Illinois. I’m very pleased we’ve chosen an Illinois company, Family Video, with an excellent record of customer service. We owe a special thanks to President Obama for his broadband initiative, which will make this community more attractive for both business investment and quality of life.”
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Chancellor Phyllis M. Wise recognized how the gigabit network would impact the campus and community. “From the early steps of winning the UC2B grant to the start of operations, this has been a strong and productive collaboration among Urbana, Champaign and the university. The partnership with an Illinois company, iTV-3, will move the project forward to the next phase of the broadband build. We are excited at both the prospects of greater access for all of our community as well as looking forward to the positive economic impact it will have for all of East Central Illinois.”
Steve Traylor, Executive Director of the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA), applauded this innovative partnership. “NATOA congratulates U2CB for pioneering an innovative publicprivate partnership and demonstrating the ways in which localities and private companies can together build state-of-the-art gigabit networks. NATOA was proud to give the UC2B project a community broadband award in 2012, and expects that Urbana and Champaign’s remarkable model will guide other communities nationwide.”
Existing UC2B customers will receive notices in upcoming bills that iTV-3 will provide continued service under their existing contracts. iTV-3 will also continue service for institutional users and will provide wholesale access on the network to competing companies. The partnership is based on the Community Broadband Principles approved by UC2B and both city councils in 2012. For a detailed Q&A about the partnership, visit www.uc2b.net.
iTV-3 is a subsidiary of the Illinois-based family-owned company that owns and operates more than 775 Family Video stores in 19 states and Canada. Family Video is the largest movie and game rental chain in the United States. Family Video has three stores in Champaign-Urbana. It has been in the Internet Service Provider business since the mid 1990’s, and has provided fiber-based services since 2009. Learn more at www.itv-3.com and www.familyvideo.com.
UC2B is a not-for-profit organization created by the Cities of Urbana and Champaign and the University of Illinois to oversee the UC2B fiber optic network throughout the community. UC2B started as an intergovernmental consortium in 2010 to build and operate the UC2B fiber-optic network using federal and state grants with local matching funds. For more information about UC2B, visit www.uc2b.net.