November 11, 2005

Municipal Broadband: Princeton Ilinois Moves Forward

eprairie:
Two years ago, Princeton, Ill., a town of about 7,500 people two hours west of Chicago, was staring at a potentially grim future. One of the town’s largest employers had just moved its manufacturing facilities to Chattanooga, Tenn. LCN, a division of Ingersoll Rand, had just hired a new plant manager for its Princeton factory He had a wake-up call for the town’s industrial board.

“He said that if Ingersoll Rand was looking to relocate a new facility, Princeton would not be on the list,” recalled Jason Bird, superintendent of the town’s electric and telecommunications utility. The town simply did not have the communications capacity that modern companies need.

That conversation was enough to scare the town council and the mayor into action. Last October, the town started construction of a $400,000, 12-mile fiber-optic network. On Dec. 15, it announced it would take the fiber to any customer wanting it.

Since then, Ingersoll Rand has made a $6.5 million investment in its Princeton facility, according to Bird. The fiber network was definitely a factor in that decision, he said. The town has also received a $675,000 economic development grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration for development of its technology park, which is based partially on the town’s deployment of the fiber network.
Posted by James Zellmer at November 11, 2005 11:30 AM | Subscribe to this site via RSS:
Posted to Broadband