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Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle - Digital Equity through the expansion of the Chicago Southland Fiber Network

Managed and operated by in co-operation the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association and Cook County, the Chicago-Southland Fiber Network provides a high speed Gigabit Fiber Optic Network serving the Chicago South Suburbs. The network initially constructed in 2014 with State of Illinois “Illinois Jobs Now” funds is a state of the art carrier ethernet fiber optic network. The network links the South Suburbs to the main Internet exchange points in Illinois at 350 E. Cermak Rd, Chicago IL and peering locations in Oak Brook IL. The network provides ultra high speed and redundant capacity from the main Internet exchange points to the network operations and co-location facility in Oak Forest IL.

In an effort to combat the digital divide in the Cook County’s south suburbs, Cook County is currently sponsoring an ongoing extensive expansion of the network. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle has tasked offices under the President to advance digital equity in the county and has embarked on an expansion of the CSFN to an additional 17 new communities in the south suburbs and expansion in existing communities served by CSFN Fiber. When complete the network will provide fiber optic infrastructure to over 30 communities.

Construction commenced in 2022 and is expected to continue over the next two years. This expansion will connect municipal, police, fire, libraries, schools and community anchor institutions as well as local businesses to high speed fiber optics and eventually consumers will be able to connect via private LTE, WiFi or fiber to the home.

Network access capacity will allow each customer up to 10 Gbps on a redundant 100Gbps backbone connections with a 99.999% uptime SLA is available to network subscribers.

This fiber technology allows the region to be at the forefront by providing a high speed telecommunications infrastructure for green manufacturing, cargo-oriented development and logistics. The economic benefit of high speed fiber connections will allow municipalities to attract new and vibrant businesses to the region and provide access to high paying jobs for residents. This network allows our communities and businesses to successfully compete in the global economy. The construction project itself will provide high paying jobs to Cook County workers employed by local MBE & WMBE certified contractors.

View construction highlights of the 2022 expansion of the Chicago Southland Fiber Network


“We truly brought the information super highway to Chicago’s South Suburbs.”
Ed Urban
“Southern Cook County has higher unemployment rates than other areas in the region and there are some of the highest concentrations of poverty and the lowest levels of technology adoption and access. Broadband will be critical to reversing these trends,”
Toni Preckwinkle
Cook County Board President
“I am very proud of the level of teamwork and enthusiasm for this project within the Cook County government. The folks here are getting an opportunity to contribute their years of knowledge and expertise towards a unique project [that will have] a positive outcome and a lasting impact on the community,”
Doug Coupland
Director of Telecommunications for Cook County