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Illinois Governor Announces Gigabit Community

$1 million grant will help Northwestern, Evanston build an “innovation corridor”

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January 18, 2013 | by Stephen Anzaldi
President Morton Schapiro
Northwestern President Morton Schapiro acknowledges Illinois Governor Pat Quinn during the press conference to announce a $1 million investment to help bring ultra-high speed Internet service to Evanston.

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Illinois Governor Pat Quinn today (Jan. 18) joined Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro and City of Evanston leaders to announce a $1 million state investment to make Evanston an Illinois Gigabit Community.

The funds will help bring ultra-high speed Internet service to Northwestern, the city and the surrounding region to support growth in research, teaching and small business.

“To compete in the 21st-century economy, we must have technology infrastructure that is second to none,” Governor Quinn said. “Internet service that is 100 times faster than what we have today will help businesses, universities and governments revolutionize our communities and make them stronger today and in the future.”

The governor’s strategic investment of $1 million will help connect fiber optic gigabit Internet service from downtown Chicago to Evanston, which will establish more than 400 access points in locations throughout Northwestern and the city.

Ultra-high speed Internet service will help further position Northwestern as a global leader in research and scholarly innovation, and it will entice young entrepreneurs to bring new start-ups to Evanston. It also will strengthen the city’s efforts to create an “innovation corridor” -- similar to those in Silicon Valley and Boston -- that leverages proximity to Northwestern and an exceptionally robust public transportation hub.

"Northwestern is grateful for this opportunity provided by Governor Quinn and the State of Illinois,” said Sean Reynolds, vice president for technology and chief information officer at Northwestern. “This support will enable the University to again partner with Evanston to enhance our mutual and collective competitiveness through the advancement of technology.”

Announced during Governor Quinn’s 2012 State of the State Address, this investment advances the governor’s efforts to encourage and facilitate world-class broadband infrastructure across Illinois.