Brightspeed announces initial fiber build markets for Illinois

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Chicago Construction News staff writer

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Brightspeed says it will build portions of a planned fiber optics network in Illinois and Michigan, creating faster, more reliable internet and Wi-Fi for residents and businesses.

By the end of 2023, the company will create up to 14,000 new fiber passings in Knox County, Illinois during the first phase of construction.

The company plans to add 31,000 fiber passings in the state, for a total of up to 45,000 fiber-enabled locations.

“As our economy, education systems, healthcare platforms, and entertainment options increasingly move online, there is greater urgency for the broadband infrastructure to keep pace, especially in rural and suburban communities,” said Sherry Hessenthaler, operations strategy lead for Brightspeed.

“We are eager to begin our ambitious fiber deployment in Illinois and Michigan. We believe customers will welcome a new competitive choice for internet and Wi-Fi. We can’t wait to introduce our high-quality products and customer experience to the cities, towns, and neighborhoods we are privileged to serve.”

Brightspeed has outlined state-specific build plans over the last several months and is well underway with network design and construction groundwork across its multistate territory as it continues preparations for day one operations.

In total, at least $2 billion has be earmarked for fiber optics transformation expected to impact up to 3 million homes and businesses over the next five years, including many locations where fiber and advanced technology have not historically been available.

Brightspeed plans to announce further state-specific fiber build plans in the coming weeks.

“Beyond our investment in Illinois and Michigan, we will evaluate areas for consideration for state and federal broadband grant programs as they arise,” added Hessenthaler.

“We are excited for the potential to expand fiber-based internet to even more communities in our serving area and look forward to working with key policymakers and stakeholders including the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and the Michigan High-Speed Internet Office.”

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