DeKalb Advancement Technology Authority (DATA) Project

DeKalb Advancement Technology Authority logo

The DeKalb Advancement of Technology Authority (DATA) Broadband project, a partnership between DeKalb County Government, Northern Illinois University and DeKalb Fiber Optics LLC, is deploying a 130-mile fiber network across DeKalb County and northern LaSalle County. The project will provide high-speed Internet connections of 10 Mbps -10 Gbps to at least 60 anchor institutions, such as schools, hospitals, libraries, public safety entities and government agencies. The project will enable broadband providers to interconnect with these facilities to provide broadband to households and businesses in un-served and underserved communities.

In February 2010, the DeKalb County Government was awarded a $15 million grant to benefit 111 community anchor institutions and business in DeKalb County with a 130-mile fiber-optic network. The DeKalb Advancement Technology Authority (DATA) project replicates the successful NIUNet model. 

NIU is a contributing partner of the DATA project and will be granting fiber to assist community anchor institutions. With the ability to connect all of these institutions to NIU, the result is a “virtual sandbox” with endless possibilities for research and collaboration in the region.

Through the DATA project, NIU will also connect the NIU Wellness and Literacy Center on Bethany Road and the main campus, providing redundancy for NIU data centers. 

DATA map

BTOP NW (iFiber) -

In September 2010, Northern Illinois University as the fiscal agent, received a $68.5 million NTIA Broadband Technology Opportunity Program grant to deploy an almost 900-mile network across the northwest Illinois region. The project is bringing up to 10 Gbps speeds to more than 500 anchor institutions, significantly improving their ability to leverage broadband technology for improvements in rural education, economic opportunities and public safety.

The Illinois Fiber Resources Group (iFiber), established in January 2011, is a provider of extremely high speed (1Gb) network transport services to both the public and private sector. It provides subsidized access directly to eligible public sector organizations such as healthcare institutions (80-100 within iFiber’s Northwest Illinois region), schools, community colleges, libraries, municipalities, county and public safety facilities. Through iFiber’s Service Provider partners, it also promotes similar high speed network transport services to businesses and residential subscribers in the private sector.

During the grant application process the team planned for the formation of a not-for-profit-profit (NFP) organization to be established for the newly-formed group for the sole purpose of constructing the network and overseeing the 48 public strands of fiber that will be installed. Counties included in the iFiber BTOP project are Boone, Carroll, JoDaviess, LaSalle, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside and Winnebago. The iFiber Board includes representatives from Northern Illinois University, LaSalle County, North Central Illinois Council of Governments, the City of Rockford, Boone County and Blackhawk Hills Regional Council.

iFiber is interconnected with other BTOP fiber projects throughout Illinois, including ICN and Clearwave. There is a robust and established network in place for data transfer.

BTOP NW map and details


Illinois Rural HealthNet logo

IRHN, a coalition of universities and rural health care providers from across Illinois, is creating a fiber-optic point-to-point wireless communications network that links rural Illinois hospitals and clinics with specialists at larger facilities. It will revolutionize delivery of health care in rural areas of the state.

Led by Northern Illinois University, IRHN is being built with a $21 million grant from the Federal Communications Commission. It extends from Galena in the north to Metropolis in the south, serving 80 small towns and a few larger communities such as Geneva, Rockford and DeKalb. It was designed to include 85 hospitals and clinics, but can be expanded as needed.

When fully operational, the network will enable participating hospitals and clinics to dramatically expand the menu of medical services they offer. It will open the door to significantly improved emergency care, create opportunities for doctors to consult other physicians hundreds of miles away and give patients access to specialists around the state without ever leaving their hometowns. It will enable improved diagnostics in areas such as radiology, neurology, cardiology and pre-natal services.

IRHN map and details