South Suburban College goes live

South Suburban College has begun providing data interconnect and voice services (VoIP) across the CSFN fiber network, linking the central campus in South Holland with the remoted campus facility in Oak Forest.  As a component of providing enhanced communications services, SSC leased fiber from CSFN and has turned up the communications equipment providing the primary link.

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New CSFN Backbone interconnect with Tier III+ data center

Final fiber splicing is completed providing connectivity between Equinix (Telx) facilities and the Tier III+ Data Center in Oak Forest. The fiber provides for access and redundant connectivity to commercial Internet access at the Telix-Equinix facility along with ICN (Illlinois Century Network) bandwidth in support of schools, municipal government, libraries museums and other public sector facilities.

Final fiber splicing is completed providing connectivity between Latisys Peering facility in Oak Brook and the Tier III+ Data Center in Oak Forest.  The fiber provides for commercial Internet access and redundant connectivity to the CSFN along with connections to the Illinois Municipal Broadband Communication Association (IMBCA) and with NIUnet’s northern Illinois transport and services network.

The Oak Forest facility is interconnected via fiber to their Oak Brook IL facility at Latysis and the 350 E Cermak Rd. Chicago IL facility at Telx/Equinnix.  Currently these links provide over 50 Gbps redundant connection capacity to the Tier I internet backbone.

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CSFN Fiber Network testing has been completed

The final electronics turn-up up was done over about 6 week time period to insure that all distribution points on the network were fully operational.

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CSFN Network Construction Completed


Construction on the major distribution and backbone of the Chicago Southland Fiber Network has been completed. The 144 strand fiber cable installed adjacent to I-57 with laterals serving 18 of the South Suburban municipalities has been tested and Carrier Ethernet electronics have been installed for the data services distribution network.

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Urbancom tapped as manager of Chicago Southland Fiber Optic Network

The complete CSFN project will consist of 60 miles of fiber optic backbone and lateral infrastructure linking south suburban municipalities, public safety sites, community colleges, economic development fiber optic access sites, and two major Cook County anchor locations – Markham Courthouse and Oak Forest Hospital. The fiber optic infrastructure will be used to provide backbone connectivity to the SSMMA communities bordering I-57 and other key sites in the corridor, establishing access to high capacity Internet services. This will include access to the Illinois Century Network (ICN), which is used for education and public institutions, and dark fiber resources for both public and private entities, which is used for point to point or multi-point network and data applications. will operate the network and provide commercial services to network customers. The network will originate at Urbancom’s Oak Forest IL headquarters, which will provide multi-homed backbone connectivity to major peering points. Initial peering points will connect directly to the 350 E. Cermak Road, Chicago IL datacenter which is Chicago’s major peering point and the Latisys Data Center location in Oak Brook IL. Additionally, Urbancom will have peering connections to the iFiber and NIU Net, DeKalb DATA Network, Illinois Rural Health Network, Aurora OnLight and the Illinois Century Network (ICN).

As part of the project Urbancom is upgrading their Data Center in Oak Forest to a Tier III Level, which will initially accommodate more than 50 high density server cabinets for both governmental and commercial co-location of servers and cloud computing. Bandwidth available at the data center will initially consist of multi-homed 50 Gbps connections to Chicago and Oak Brook.

Urbancom will provide a full range commercial internet services including hosted and cloud based solutions including VoIP and video conferencing as well as disaster recovery and business reconstitution services.

Urbancom CEO Ed Urban commented at the recent Southland Economic Development conference that he is pleased with the high level of support provided by Governor Quinn for the project which he believes will be an economic boom to Chicago’s south suburbs.

The network is expected to be fully operational in Q3 2014.

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Broadband Communities Conference held in Tinley Park Convention Center


(L to R) CSFN Executive Director Rusty Winchel, SSMMA Executive Director Ed Paesel, CEO Ed Urban, and Tinley Park Mayor Ed Zabrocki at the Broadband Communities Conference held at the Tinley Park Convention Center.

The meeting was a national conference focused on municipal based broadband projects. The event celebrated the commencement of construction of the CSFN network which will provide high speed gigabit internet access to the convention center facility.

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Urbancom to participate in Gigabit Internet Partnership with City of Evanston and Northwestern University

Strategic $1 Million State Investment Will Help Northwestern University and Area Businesses to Build Innovation Corridor, Create Jobs

EVANSTON – January 18, 2013.

Governor Pat Quinn was joined today by leaders from the city of Evanston and Northwestern University to announce a $1 million state investment to help the city become an Illinois Gigabit Community, bringing ultra-high speed Internet to one of the nation’s top universities and the surrounding area, home to more than 160 start-ups. This gigabit service will be crucial to developing an economic innovation corridor that will attract entrepreneurs who create jobs as they grow the next generation of world-changing companies. a network operator based in Oak Forest Illinois has been chosen as a partner in the project.

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

“To compete in the 21st century economy, we must have technology infrastructure that is second to none,” Governor Quinn said. “Internet service that’s 100 times faster than what we have today will help businesses, universities and governments to 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 Northwestern University, which will then place more than 400 access points in locations throughout campus and in surrounding Evanston.

This will enhance the research capabilities of Northwestern University and the ability of the city of Evanston to offer the kind of ultra-high speed Internet service that technology businesses need to start-up and grow. In addition, the capability will boost the city’s efforts to create an innovation corridor that will utilize proximity to Northwestern University’s extensive academic resources and robust public transportation.

“Evanston is home to over 160 technology start-ups housed in various scattered locations with limited synergistic relationships or facilities. The awarding of this Gigabit Community Challenge Grant Award will build a direct link between technology start-up companies, Northwestern University, the city of Evanston and private investors via gigabit fiber connections. The researchers on Northwestern University’s campus, workers in technology start-up companies and entrepreneurs will be able to access faster data speeds leading to greater discoveries and commercial applications,” said Evanston Alderman Melissa Wynne (3rd Ward). “This award will be a catalyst allowing the city of Evanston and the state of Illinois to keep great thinkers, innovators, entrepreneurs and growing technology companies here in Illinois through a critical public-private-non-profit partnership.”

“Northwestern is grateful for the opportunity provided by Governor Quinn and the state of Illinois and for the prize awarded to our community via the Illinois Gigabit Communities Challenge,” said Sean Reynolds, Northwestern University’s vice president for Information Technology and chief information officer. “This support will allow the University to again partner with the city of Evanston to enhance our mutual and collective competitiveness through the advancement of technology – in this case, by advancing networking capacity to the University and the city of Evanston and the interconnection between them. We are excited about the potential for increased reach and interactions for researchers, start up companies and other commercial and public entities throughout the city of Evanston, the Chicago area, the state and the wider connected world.”

CoLab Evanston is just one of many small and growing businesses that will reap enormous benefits from ultra-high speed gigabit Internet service. The company provides shared working space for companies and individual entrepreneurs who are often looking to take ideas and grow them into larger enterprises. The company acts as an incubator for innovation and provides its clients with the resources to be successful.

“At coLab, we’re committed to helping professionals by giving them the tools they need to be productive and innovative,” said Eric Harper, co-founder of coLab Evanston. “Gigabit will be a key benefit we offer as we strive to create an environment where ideas can turn into reality.”

The city of Evanston is also collaborating with Urban Communications, Inc. to expand broadband availability to residential and small business entities throughout the city. In addition to traditional Internet, the company plans to provide other IP-based services such as VoIP, video conferencing, web hosting, disaster recovery and email.

“This project will help Urban Communications extend the benefits of gigabit Internet service to residents and businesses all over Evanston who are always searching for better technology services at a better value,” said Edmund G. Urban III, CEO of Urban Communications. “We’re proud to be partnering with the city of Evanston to make our community a better place to live and work.”

Governor Quinn has led major efforts to improve Illinois’ technology infrastructure and worked to expand broadband deployment in all areas of the state. As part of the Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction program, the Broadband Deployment Fund was used in 2010 and 2011 to jump start more than 4,000 miles of new fiber optic cable construction and more than $300 million in private and federal investments in Illinois. The governor previously announced gigabit investments in Aurora’s public and private K-12 schools, higher education and healthcare institutions, commercial corridors and community anchors in underserved areas, and major non-profit organizations across the city as well as communities across Chicago including Hyde Park, Kenwood, Woodlawn, Washington Park, South Shore, Greater Grand Crossing, Grand Boulevard, Douglas and Oakland.

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about CEO Edmund G Urban III (right) discusses with Gov. Pat Quinn (left)’s expansion of their 10Gbps fiber optic network to supply Internet access to the OnLight Aurora project for which Gov. Quinn announced a $1 Million award from the State’s Jobs Now! program.

Oak Forest based Urban Communications (URBANCOM.NET) to provide 10 Gbps backbone Internet connection to OnLight Aurora a recipient of Governor Quinn’s $1 Million Seed investment under the Illinois Gigabit Communities Challenge which will help to Connect Education, Business, Healthcare Communities to Aurora’s Fiber Optic Network; Help Create 2,500 Jobs Over Five Years

On October 16, 2012 Governor Pat Quinn announced that OnLight Aurora is a recipient of an Illinois Gigabit Communities Challenge award, a statewide competition to establish ultra-high speed broadband networks across Illinois. The state is awarding $1 million in Illinois Jobs Now! capital funding to OnLight Aurora to help connect the city of Aurora’s fiber optic network to its education, business, and health care communities and accelerate economic growth and job creation.

Backbone Internet access for the OnLight Aurora network is being provided through a robust 10 Gbps fiber optic network operated by Oak Forest, IL based Urban Communications ( specializes in providing unique broadband and VoIP solutions to government and business customers.

Urbancom.Net CEO Edmund G. Urban III said, “we are proud to be participating in this project which will promote job growth here in Illinois and provide one of the fastest networks in the nation.”

Urbancom’s expansion for this project included the installation of fiber optic cable and hardware from our new Oak Brook, IL Data Center allowing us to serve customers with 10Gbps connections thought northern Illinois from fiber running along the Illinois Tollway Authority right of way,”
said Urban.

Earlier this year was also selected by iFiber, to build a broadband microwave network across nine north west Illinois counties as part of a $68.5 million federally funded fiber optic network and microwave network. This project will connect rural communities and provide them the same connectivity speeds as being provided in urban areas.

This latest project with OnLight Aurora will allow to be a the forefront of connecting Illinois residents and businesses to the next generation of high speed Internet networks, commented Urban.

Announced during Governor Quinn’s 2012 State of the State Address, the Illinois Gigabit Communities Challenge advances the governor’s efforts to encourage world-class broadband infrastructure in every area of Illinois.

“Smart communities will foster the job engines of the future,” Governor Quinn said. “To win in the information economy, we need information infrastructure that is second to none. Through the Gigabit Communities Challenge, Illinois will build stronger, smarter communities with Internet connections more than 100 times faster than they are today.”

OnLight Aurora is among the first in a series of Challenge award recipients that will be announced in the coming weeks. The state’s investment will help connect Aurora’s robust, state-of-the-art fiber network to more than 12,000 end users, including students, nurses, business men and women, and residents.

Administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), the $1 million award represents a seed investment for OnLight Aurora’s pilot project and will help leverage an additional $1 million in public and private matching funds and create 2,500 jobs over the next five years. The state’s investment will help provide connectivity to Aurora’s public and private K-12 schools, higher education and healthcare institutions, commercial corridors and community anchors in underserved areas, and major non-profit organizations across the city.

“This grant will help OnLight Aurora continue to close the digital divide within our city by capitalizing on our Fiber Optic Network,” said Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner. “We know that technology has the potential to revolutionize our educational system and it is an absolute must for successful companies of all sizes. By developing the infrastructure of the future, we drive economic development, strengthen our tax base, and address our community’s most fundamental needs: jobs, quality of life and global competitiveness.”

OnLight Aurora is an independent, not-for-profit organization that was formed out of a technology task force organized by Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner in 2011 that included public and private sector volunteers. The mission of OnLight Aurora is to leverage the world-class connectivity of Aurora’s Fiber Optic Network for non-municipal use.

As part of the comprehensive, multi-year Illinois Jobs Now! economic development program, the Illinois Gigabit Communities Challenge sought proposals from private and public organizations to encourage promising ultra high-speed broadband deployment projects throughout Illinois. Applicants were required to provide a viable plan to connect at least 1,000 end users to an ultra high-speed broadband network. Award recipients will receive seed funding to help build or expand world-class broadband networks in Illinois.

A longtime advocate for improving our technology infrastructure, Governor Quinn has been a strong voice for broadband deployment in all areas of Illinois. As part of the Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction program, the Broadband Deployment Fund was used in 2010 and 2011 to jump start more than 4,000 miles of new fiber optic cable construction and more than $300 million in private and federal investment in Illinois.

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iFiber selects Urban Communications for wireless work


A wireless contractor has been selected for the project designed to bring a reliable high-speed broadband network to a nine-county region in northwest Illinois.

Illinois Fiber Resources Group iFiber, an Illinois not-for-profit organization, has selected Urban Communications, Inc.URBANCOM.NET, of Oak Forest, IL. The company will provide the wireless portion of the broadband network under construction in Boone, Carroll, JoDaviess, LaSalle, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside and Winnebago counties.

The iFiber project is a public-private partnership focused on improving broadband infrastructure to community anchor institutions such as schools, government, public safety, libraries, community colleges and health care providers. Through its service provider partners, iFiber also will promote similar high speed network transport services to businesses and residential subscribers in the private sector.

The new network will provide a combination of dark fiber and wireless infrastructure that supports up to 10 Gbps, making possible efficiencies in service, enhanced economic development and remote off-site storage capabilities. The use of carrier grade wireless microwave technology will allow connection speeds between 100 Mbps and 1 Gbps to more users than can be cost-effectively reached through a direct fiber connection on the 900-mile fiber optic network backbone.

Urban Communications was selected because it is uniquely qualified to provide the wireless portion of the network, according to John Lewis, chairman of the iFiber board.

“We are pleased to add Urban Communications to our team of contractors to help us complete the iFiber project by the summer of 2013. While the mild winter weather has allowed our fiber construction crews to stay ahead of schedule, this is an important component for completion of the project.” said Lewis.

Edmund G. Urban III, President/CEO of Urban Communications, said “We are very excited that we have been selected by iFiber to play such a significant role in this major network bring broadband to rural Illinois.

“Adding microwave wireless to the dark fiber is an integral part of completing this robust broadband project. Working together, this is how we capitalize on President Obama’s goal to make high-speed broadband available throughout the U.S., to keep America competitive in the world market,” Urban added.

Urban Communications is the oldest and most robust fixed wireless broadband internet company in the Chicago metro area. It has been the premier high-speed broadband wireless access provider in the Chicago area since 1997, serving government agencies, school districts, public colleges, enterprise businesses and small businesses.

“We provide a 100% diverse metro ethernet network using licensed carrier grade microwave radios linking all of our towers. Our customers rely on us for the best service and reliability. We also design, build and manage private microwave networks for government and educational institutions throughout other areas of Illinois and across the country,” said Urban.

Design engineering and permitting for the iFiber project are being coordinated by Baxter & Woodman (DeKalb, IL). Construction of the fiber portion of the network is being completed by PirTano Construction Company (Addison, IL) in Carroll, JoDaviess, Lee and Whiteside counties; and Aldridge Electric (Libertyville, IL), which partnered with Kelso-Burnett (Rockford, IL), in Boone, LaSalle, Ogle, Stephenson and Winnebago counties.

In September 2010, Northern Illinois University as the fiscal agent, received a $68.5 million National Telecommunications and Information Administration Broadband Technology Opportunity Program grant to deploy an almost 900-mile network across the northwest Illinois region. iFiber was established as a not-for-profit entity in January 2011, to address current and future high-speed Internet needs of communities across northwest Illinois.

The iFiber Board includes representatives from NIU, LaSalle County, North Central Illinois Council of Governments, the City of Rockford, Boone County, and Blackhawk Hills RC&D.

For more information about the iFiber project, e-mail or visit

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