As a pioneer in delivering telephone services to rural communities in western Illinois back 60 years ago, McDonough Telephone Cooperative, and its subsidiary MTC Communications, is once again striving to provide the best technology to its members as part of its application for the Illinois Gigabit Communities Challenge.
The Illinois Gigabit Communities Challenge invited communities and service providers to compete for $6 million in funding to expand the reach of ultra-high speed broadband around the state. With the goal of bringing Gigabit speeds to many of Illinois’ residents and businesses, multiple awards will be given out to applicants in sums ranging from $1 million to $4 million. 40 applications were submitted throughout the process, which came to a conclusion at the end of June. Award winners are expected to be announced in the next few months.
“MTC Communications is an established broadband provider here in Western Illinois and we are already delivering on some of the goals of the Challenge,” said Bill Buchanan, general manager of McDonough Telephone Cooperative.
Currently serving 20 communities and numerous anchor institutions across six counties with triple-play services, MTC Communications is working to accelerate its fiber expansion with this grant after investing over $9 million in its fiber infrastructure in the last five years. As part of this network expansion, MTC Communications is planning to serve nearby Western Illinois University’s School of Agriculture in Macomb.
“We will build a fiber route out to the farm on the Western Illinois University campus, but with the help of this grant, the project will be accelerated and the speeds we can offer will be even higher,” said Buchanan. “In addition to the campus, MTC will also be able to bring broadband to parts of Macomb that have never experienced the capabilities of a fiber network.”
To date, broadband has not been available outside of one classroom building on the agricultural campus. However, with the MTC Communications fiber network, the School of Agriculture will be able to create better marketing programs for their products, help students get real-time data about futures trading and feeding rations, and better disseminate information to the farms around their community.
We are wishing MTC Communications the best of luck in their application process!
To learn more about MTC Communications’ network, hear directly from the anchor institutions they already serve, and the impact fiber would make on Western Illinois University School of Agriculture, watch their video application.