Updated: August 2, 2013 6:10AM
Faster communication and more bandwidth that could benefit Southland communities, schools and libraries are envisioned as the next phase of fiber-optic cable installation gets under way.
The project began last year with a $6.1 million state grant to the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association, which is working with the Cook County Bureau of Technology.
Fiber-optic cable that was installed along Interstate 57 during the initial phase will be linked with communities, schools, libraries, hospitals and police and fire stations, according to SSMMA.
Ultimately, the project will support higher-capacity Internet connections, which could also be used as a tool by Southland communities to promote economic development, the association said in a recent news release.
Work will continue through the summer, linking sites in Monee, University Park, Richton Park, the SouthCom Joint Dispatch center in Matteson, then continuing to Dixmoor, Markham and Blue Island. The project is due to be completed next January.
The fiber-optic network will be operated by a nonprofit organization called Chicago Southland Fiber Network, according to the news release.
“Fiber cabling is a key investment to improve economic opportunities in the region, improving municipal communications capabilities and lowering the cost of delivering government services,” Paul Braun, the SSMMA’s president and Flossmoor mayor, said in the news release.
“Fiber-optic connectivity has become the next critical infrastructure for our region, often listed at the same level of importance as good roads, electric distribution and water and sewer services,” Braun said.