URBANA, IL. — A neighborhood in south central Urbana will soon have access to one of the fastest gigabit networks in the country.
Today, iTV-3 will hold a "groundbreaking" for an expansion of the Urbana-Champaign Big Broadband network into the neighborhood roughly bounded by Busey Avenue on the west, Florida Avenue on the south, Vine Street on the east and Michigan Avenue on the north.
There are about 300 homes in that neighborhood, and 50 percent of those households had to "pre-sign up" for service for iTV-3 to move forward with work there, said Trevor Rice, marketing director for iTV-3.
"We should have them up and running with services in the next two months," barring unexpected delays, Rice said.
Two other neighborhoods in Urbana are described as being "very close to reaching the 50-percent demand requirement," and iTV-3 officials said construction could begin in those areas soon.
The closest is a neighborhood to the south — roughly bounded by Race Street on the west, McHenry Street on the south, Vine Street on the east and Florida Avenue on the north. That neighborhood needs about one more household to commit before work can begin there, Rice said.
The other one is the Carle Park neighborhood and the area extending west to Busey Avenue, he said. About 12 more customers must commit before work there begins.
Television, phone and Internet services are available through the gigabit network.
Under i-TV3's pricing plan, a resident could sign up for Internet service with 1 gigabit-per-second download speeds and 200 megabits-per-second upload speeds for $79.99 a month.
They could also choose slower download speeds:
— 50-megabits-per-second for $49.99 a month.
— 100 megabits-per-second for $59.99 a month.
— 200 megabits-per-second for $69.99 a month.
Those prices are for Internet-only service; other price structures apply to packages that also include phone and TV services.
An East Peoria-based company, iTV-3, entered into a private-public partnership last spring with the not-for-profit group that oversees the Urbana-Champaign Big Broadband fiber network.
iTV-3 is a subsidiary of the family-owned business that operates more than 775 Family Video stores in 19 states. It offers television, phone and Internet services, and its eventual plans are to provide gigabit service beyond the 45,000 households and businesses in the Champaign-Urbana area to more than 250,000 homes across its service area.
The expansion into the Urbana neighborhood will position Champaign-Urbana as one of the few communities in the country delivering gigabit fiber-optic Internet to households.
To enable the expansion, iTV-3 upgraded the network's core and is in the process of installing fiber-to-the-home equipment.
Although work in the neighborhood actually got under way last week, a groundbreaking event is scheduled for 11 a.m. today at the home of Bruce Komadina and Jenny Putman (402 W. Delaware Ave.), with the public invited and the mayors of Champaign and Urbana among those scheduled to speak.