WHITESIDE CO., Ill (KWQC) – The Whiteside County Board unanimously approved a multi-million dollar plan to expand fiber optic internet on Tuesday.
The board approved a $3 million commitment to internet provider Sand Praire and its plan to bring broadband internet access to 100% of underserved and underserved parts of the county.
Currently, 21,000 people live in the unincorporated portions of Whiteside County that fall into those categories. According to the authorities, the project will cost about 70 million dollars.
This is all part of a grant proposal dedicated to expanding Internet access to rural communities.
The county’s portion will come from the funds of the American Bailout Act. The Elizabeth, Illinois-based Internet Cooperative will also commit funds along with the county to offset 25% of the project. State and federal funds will make up the other 75%.
County Economic Development Director Gary Camarano said this will allow people to have more access to entertainment, health care and employment.
“This is huge. This is a game changer for the county,” Camarano said. “This is the equivalent of the railroad that came to town during the 19th century… This is the equivalent of the interstate highway system after World War II.”
If Sand Prairie receives the full grant, they will lay about 1,000 miles of fiber optic cable over the next five years.
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