Ground broken for fiber optic network in Calhoun County

Illinois Electric Cooperative (IEC) held a fiber optic network groundbreaking ceremony in Hardin on Oct. 10. The project will bring 21st century connectivity to the Calhoun and Brussels school systems.

Support from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) helped bring the projects to fruition. Hardin Calhoun Schools will receive $272,474.29 from the FCC Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) E-rate program and $68,118.57 as an ISBE matching grant. Brussels School District will receive $336,720.30 from the FCC USAC E-rate program and $144,308.70 as an ISBE matching grant. A fiber optic build-out to the entire county is expected to begin in spring.

Above: Although the stormy day moved the event indoors, a ceremonial groundbreaking took place. From (l-r): IEC CEO Bruce Giffin, Calhoun District 40 Superintendent Kate Sievers, Brussels District 42 Superintendent Mark Martin, IEC Board Vice President Julia Eberlin, IEC Board President Thomas Meehan III, Illinois State Senator Steve McClure, IEC Director Kevin Klein, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, Illinois State Representative C.D. Davidsmeyer, IEC Director Kevin Brannan, Illinois Department of Agriculture Bureau Chief Brian Rennecker, and IEC Directors Bryan Hubbert and Luke Fraley.