Wabash News

April 8, 2024

Wabash Communications CO-OP Receives $23.1 Million Grant from Connect Illinois Program to Expand Broadband Access in Rural Communities

Wabash Communications CO-OP is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a $23,197,592 grant through the Connect Illinois Program to expand broadband access in underserved rural areas. This significant investment will enable Wabash Communications CO-OP to embark on four transformative projects, modernizing connectivity in different regions across South Central Illinois. 

The Connect Illinois Program, spearheaded by the State of Illinois, is a groundbreaking initiative aimed at bridging the digital divide and ensuring access to high-speed internet across the state. With a focus on serving rural communities, Connect Illinois is committed to empowering businesses, schools, healthcare facilities, and residents with reliable broadband infrastructure. 

Wabash Communications CO-OP is proud to be at the forefront of this mission, bringing essential services to areas that have long been underserved. The $23.1 million grant will be allocated across four distinct projects, each targeting specific communities and regions: 

  • Project 1: Will encompass the towns of Kinmundy, Herrick, and St. Peter, enhancing connectivity for residents, businesses, and community institutions in these communities.  
  • Project 2: Located in an area just east of Fairfield in Wayne County, this project will provide essential broadband infrastructure to rural businesses and empower residents with high-speed internet access. 
  • Project 3: Serving Lake Centralia and the east part of Clay County, and a small part of west Richland County, this project will extend broadband access to previously underserved areas, facilitating educational opportunities, telehealth services, and economic growth. 
  • Project 4: Covering a large section of southwest Wayne County, this initiative will bring transformative connectivity to rural communities. 

Construction for these projects is slated to commence in the late 3rd quarter of 2024, with subsequent projects to follow.  

These projects represent a significant milestone in Wabash Communications CO-OP’s ongoing commitment to expanding broadband access in rural Illinois. By deploying fiber-to-the-premises networks capable of delivering gigabit-speed internet, Wabash Communications CO-OP will empower residents, businesses, farms, and community anchor institutions with advanced connectivity solutions. 

“As a cooperative deeply rooted in the communities we serve, we are thrilled to partner with the State of Illinois through the Connect Illinois Program to bring critical broadband infrastructure to underserved areas,” said Barry Adair, CEO/GM of Wabash Communications CO-OP. “These projects will not only bridge the digital divide but also unleash new opportunities for education, healthcare, and economic development in rural Illinois.” 

Through these initiatives, Wabash Communications CO-OP will connect approximately 1,200 households, businesses, farms, and community anchor institutions to high-speed broadband, transforming lives and driving progress in rural communities. 

For more information about Wabash Communications CO-OP and its broadband expansion projects, please visit www.wabash.net. Residents and businesses interested in signing up for services can visit our website at www.wabash.net or call our office at 618-665-3311.