Geneseo Communications announced today they are among the first to receive funding through the Connect Illinois rural broadband initiative. The company was awarded $5 million via a state grant that will be additionally funded by another $8.6 million from the company for a total of $13.6 million dedicated to rural broadband expansion.

The company will use the awarded funds to extend the company’s ultra-high-speed fiber optic service to nearly 4,000 businesses, farms, households, and anchor institutions within select areas of Henry and Rock Island counties located in northwestern Illinois. The Geneseo rural fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) project will transform underserved areas into highly productive rural communities, opening doors to advancements such as precision agriculture, farm safety, enhanced education, and specialized health care, ultimately improving quality of life within these rural areas.

“High speed internet access is just as important to a farmer in Henry County as it is to a corporation in a downtown Chicago high-rise,” said Mike McClain, CEO of Geneseo Communications. “Due to the lack of density in most counties in Illinois, it is cost prohibitive to build direct fiber internet access to homes or farms. Connect Illinois and Geneseo Communications will build direct fiber and Gigabit-level internet speeds to select homes and farms in rural Henry and Rock Island Counties, putting our communities on a level playing field with the best-served cities across the globe.”

“Reliable and affordable broadband service is a necessity for the success of agriculture and the quality of farm family life,” said Shayne Winters, Assistant General Manager of Geneseo Communications. “Expanding high-speed FIBER broadband to residents and businesses across rural areas within Henry and Rock Island counties in Illinois meets a critical connectivity need. This is truly an important step to improving rural broadband service and will go a long way to foster increased productivity in the rural areas of Illinois,” said Winters.

Construction is tentatively planned to begin August of this year.  Once construction is underway, select residents of the grant-funded areas should have access to ultra-high-speed internet within 24 to 36 months. The construction will begin in Henry County, then proceed to select areas of Rock Island County, IL.

The expansion of Connect Illinois funds will allow areas of northwestern Illinois to be the first region in the state to offer universally available fiber optic services. The reliable, ultra-high-speed internet connection available with Geneseo Communications is among the fastest available in Illinois and will be offered to customers at affordable rates.

About Geneseo Communications

Geneseo Communications is recognized as the area’s leader in high-speed internet and communication services providing data, voice, and managed services in local and extended area markets through its high-quality advanced network. Geneseo Communications is committed to being a strong partner to rural communities in deploying this critical infrastructure, because we know when rural America thrives, all of America thrives. For more information, visit­­