Gov. Quinn taps Evanston, Northwestern for high-speed internet grant

Joseph Diebold, Web Editor

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn announced today he has selected Northwestern and Evanston for a $1 million grant to bring ultra-high speed internet to the city, making it an Illinois Gigabit Community.

At a press conference at the South Evanston branch of Evanston Public Library, 900 Chicago Ave., Quinn was joined by University President Morton Schapiro and Ald. Melissa Wynne (3rd) in announcing the grant. The program was first announced at Quinn’s 2012 State of the State address. Evanston will become the third area out of 41 applicants to receive a grant, following in the footsteps of mid-south Chicago and the western Chicago suburb of Aurora.

The grant “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,” according to release from Quinn’s office.

One of the city’s chief economic development goals has been retaining NU students interested in technology startups instead of losing them to tech hotspots like Chicago and Silicon Valley. Sean Reynolds, NU vice president for Information Technology, thanked Quinn for the selection.

“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,” Reynolds said in the release.

— Joseph Diebold