Whiteside County working to provide fiber internet access to entire county

MORRISON, Ill. (KWQC) –

Morrison, IL (March 31, 2022) – Whiteside County is taking the first step in providing the entire county with reliable, and affordable fiber broadband internet access. The county is joining several several other counties and municipalities as part of the Accelerate Illinois Broadband Infrastructure Planning Program.

Accelerate Illinois is a collaboration between the Illinois Office of Broadband, the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society, and University of Illinois Extension. It offers a 14-week community engagement and planning program with expert support. The collaboration opportunity is made possible through the financial support of Heartland Forward and its Connecting the Heartland Initiative.

James Duffy, Whiteside County Board Chair, explained, “Robust, reliable internet connectivity for every resident, business and organization in the county has been a challenge we’ve wrestled with for some time. The pandemic really brought this challenge to the forefront as remote work, education and telemedicine became necessities. It is obvious that many residents, businesses and organizations in Whiteside County do not have quality internet access. The number underserved and unserved locations is unacceptable, and the Connect Illinois and federal broadband programs will be our chance to rectify this.”

The first Accelerate Illinois kickoff meeting was held on Feb. 3, 2022 with well over 70 participants representing the six different Illinois counties and local governments. In addition, residents are encouraged to take a broadband survey to help identify needs..

ConnectWhiteside.org, is a 17-person committee working on the planning process for Whiteside County and just released a user survey. The survey is available online at connectwhiteside.org/survey. A Spanish language version of the online survey can be accessed at conecterwhiteside.org/encuesta, and paper version is also available at various locations across the county. The survey is scheduled to end on Fri. April 29, 2022.

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