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Broadband /Telecommunications

Chicago-Southland Fiber Network – Gigabit Fiber Optic Network
Managed and operated by Urbancom.net in co-operation the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association, the Chicago-Southland Fiber Network provides a high speed Gigabit Fiber Optic Network serving the Chicago South Suburbs. The network initially constructed with State of Illinois “Illinois Jobs Now” funds is a state of the art carrier ethernet fiber optic network. The network links the South Suburbs to the main Internet exchange points in Illinois at 350 E. Cermak Rd, Chicago IL and peering locations in Oak Brook IL. The 400 Gigabit backbone is built to provide high speed and redundant capacity from the main Internet exchange points to the Urbancom.net network operations and co-location facility in Oak Forest IL.

This network connects governmental buildings, colleges, hospitals, libraries, schools and commercial enterprise customers to the high speed information super-highway at the speed of light. Network access capacity to each customer of up to 10 Gbps with a 99.999% uptime SLA is available to our network subscribers.

This fiber technology allows the region to be at the forefront by providing a high speed telecommunications infrastructure for green manufacturing, cargo-oriented development and logistics. The economic benefit of high speed fiber connections will allow municipalities to attract new and vibrant businesses to the region and provide access to high paying jobs for residents. This network allows our communities and businesses to successfully compete in the global economy.

Click here for the CSFN web site.

SSMMA has long worked with its member municipalities to improve economic and community development in the region. The lack of high-speed fiber-based broadband has been seen as an impediment for institutions and businesses to choose to locate or expand their presence in the Southland. To address that concern, SSMMA secured funding for the development of the first phase of the Chicago Southland Fiber Network  Project, a regional fiber network and infrastructure initiative to provide affordable high speed broadband to multiple locations in the region.

Cook County and SSMMA, with grant funding from the State of Illinois “Illinois Jobs Now” program, constructed more than 60 miles of fiber optic backbone infrastructure in the Southern Cook and Eastern Will County corridor spanning 32 initial anchor sites including: south suburban municipalities, public safety sites, community colleges, Cook County anchor facilities, and economic development access sites along, and in proximity to, the I-57 corridor. The fiber optic infrastructure will be used to provide connectivity to high capacity Internet services, Illinois Century Network (ICN) access for education and public institutions, and dark fiber resources for both public and private entities to use for point-to-point or multi-point network and data applications. Click here for a related story in a Cook County blog post, “Chicago Southland Fiber Network Project Begins.”

Commercial Services
While CSFN continues to operate the public side of the network, Urbancom  was selected to operate the for-profit side and provide commercial services to network customers. The network will originate at Urbancom’s Oak Forest IL headquarters, which will provide multi-homed backbone connectivity to major peering points. Initial peering points will connect directly to the 350 E. Cermak Road, Chicago IL datacenter which is Chicago’s major peering point and the Latisys Data Center location in Oak Brook IL. Additionally, Urbancom will have peering connections to the iFiber and NIU Net, DeKalb DATA Network, Illinois Rural Health Network, Aurora OnLight and the Illinois Century Network (ICN).

As part of the project Urbancom is upgrading their Data Center in Oak Forest to a Tier III Level, which will initially accommodate more than 50 high density server cabinets for both governmental and commercial co-location of servers and cloud computing. Bandwidth available at the data center will initially consist of multi-homed 50 Gbps connections to Chicago and Oak Brook. Click here to contact Urbancom, or call 708-687-2090.

Urbancom will provide a full range commercial internet services including hosted and cloud based solutions including VoIP and video conferencing as well as disaster recovery and business reconstitution services.

Background: Southland Telecommunication Needs and Resources
Improved access to broadband technology has been identified as a major goal of great importance to municipalities and the business community in the south suburban region. The South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association and our 43 members in southern Cook and Will Counties contracted to work with the Broadband Development Group, Regional Development Institute of Northern Illinois University, to develop a business plan that ultimately builds a regional network to use for enhancing municipal and other government services, including public safety services, and provide an economic development resource for our private sector partners.

Initial funding for this initiative has been provided by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) with efforts to obtain additional DCEO funds to fund subsequent phases of the project, which is expected to last approximately two years.

The SSMMA/N.I.U. research actions and desired results include:

  • Survey the needs and existing costs of municipal communication services. This activity will determine if existing connectivity services meet the needs of communities served in a cost effective manner. It will also assess if money currently spent for connectivity could provide a higher level of service through aggregation of demand and pooling.
  • Identify steps to use technology to enhance the services provided by local taxing agencies by consolidation of existing resources or construction of common infrastructure shared by multiple entities.
  • Document infrastructure that already exists whether it be fiber, wireless and high capacity links, which can be expanded to provide enhanced capabilities.
  • Leverage the value of any work that has been already accomplished. Communities may have implemented projects to better address connectivity needs or costs. Work efforts will be reviewed from a regional basis to identify areas where this existing effort may be expanded to meet regional needs.
  • Identify opportunities to boost efforts for economic development. Internet access and connectivity resources will be identified in each community. Bandwidth to attract and retain businesses is critical. Lowered costs for connectivity and internet access may also help attract new business and retain existing businesses.
  • Identify concrete steps to diminish issues that may cause local digital divide across our region. Approaches to provide connectivity solutions for underserved communities will be identified.

Municipalities will be working with local schools, libraries, park districts and other public agencies, as well as not-for-profits and the business community throughout the Southland to accomplish this important work. We seek broad participation and commitment in order to develop a well thought out, actionable implementation plan that benefits our local communities and our region.

For additional information, please contact Ed Paesel at (708) 206-1155 or via email.