Even before the University of Illinois was name-checked in 2001: A Space Odyssey, the Champaign area has been fertile ground for advances in computers. So it sounds reasonable that the region would be chosen for a $27 million federal grant for a next-generation broadband program.
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Champaign Mayor Don Gerard attended a White House conference featuring Robert Metcalfe, known as the co-inventor of the Ethernet. “He simply said, ‘I’ve been to this rodeo before; you’re starting all over, and the possibilities are endless,’” Gerard said. “It’s not, ‘what are the applications going to be,’ but, moreover, when innovators are looking at creating and inventing new applications, that they can be applied in the real world, and not just in the virtual world.”
Gerard says the program involves installing three rings of fiber overlapping the two cities and the university.