April 24, 2023

iFiber Service Restored

Service disruption from an outage that occurred due to fiber damage was restored Wednesday, April 19, at approximately 11:30 p.m. Because of the extensive nature of the damage, a temporary fix was put in place while the iFiber team works with its maintenance contractor on permanent resolution. The permanent repair will be completed during a scheduled maintenance window, with customers receiving advance notification.

April 19, 2023

iFiber Outage April 19, 2023

iFiber Outage April 19, 2023: A service outage occurred this afternoon in the Dixon area. Alerts began at 1 pm (CDT). Crews dispatched to patrol the fiber routes have located the damage and are working to restore service to the affected area as quickly as possible. The expected restoration time is before midnight tonight.

February 24, 2023

iFiber Service Maintained During Ice Storm Power Outage

An unknown animal chewed this hole through an iFiber core site’s generator cooling system cap.

FEBRUARY 2023 – iFiber’s commitment to maintaining its core sites passed a major test during the ice storm that crippled much of northwestern Illinois Feb. 22-23.

A power outage affected Eastland Middle School, site of the iFiber broadband network’s core distribution site in the Shannon region. When the site lost power, it went onto battery back-up as it is designed to do. But when the generator failed to start as expected, Eric Haan, District Technology Director for Eastland CUSD #308, knew there was a critical issue. Upon investigation and assisted by John Prowant, Director of Operations, Haan discovered an animal had gnawed a hole through the cooling system’s generator cap (see photo).

Eric Haan

As President of iFiber’s Board of Directors in addition to his IT Director role, Haan was keenly aware of the urgency of the situation. He and Prowant braved the treacherous weather conditions by locating a replacement cap and coolant at a local diesel repair store. Once installed, the generator was immediately back up and running ensuring no major outages in fiber-broadband service for the iFiber network.

The core site situation was made that much more urgent because Shannon site’s equipment was on its last legs battery-wise, according to projected battery ride time. Haan had the generator operating just as the lights on the equipment were starting to dim.

Other iFiber team members worked behind the scenes to ensure network services would not be interrupted for iFiber customers.

Marc Thorson, who oversees iFiber operations as Executive Director of Regional Technology Services, NIU Division of Information Technology, arranged for a mobile generator if it was needed. Jen Uridil-Dolman, Project Manager and Damage Assessor for NIU/iFiber Broadband, provided information on the battery life and records of the preventative maintenance done. Joe Trickey, Sales Engineer and Project Manager, provided technical information on the generator and site electrical options. He also ensured the details were covered for all contingency options to make sure nothing was overlooked.

iFiber (Illinois Fiber Resources Group, not-for-profit) continually works to provide the best possible platform for its Community Anchor Institutions and Service Provider Partners. Since its inception in 2011, iFiber has completed several upgrades of its core network backbone devices.

iFiber has five core sites which ensure redundancy in service. iFiber’s ring architecture design provides a redundant route out of regional sites through ring protection with its Core and Distribution network. In the event of a fiber cut in one location along one of its major routes, iFiber will continue to provide services through its Core and Distribution network.

iFiber is proud to continue offering an open-access fiber option to serve communities working with our service provider partners. iFiber is dedicated to its commitment to meeting ever-changing communication needs now and into the future.

January 5, 2023

FCC Broadband Map Challenge for Illinois

iFiber encourages you to share this information with your residential or business contacts who may still need access to high-speed Internet in Illinois. K-12 schools, please consider forwarding this State of Illinois invitation or the FCC link to parents of enrolled students. The deadline is Jan. 13, 2023.
The FCC National Broadband Maps contain federal mappings of high-speed internet availability in Illinois—and there is a short window of opportunity to improve the internet availability reported for Illinois in these maps. The more improvements we can collectively make to the maps before Jan. 13, 2023, the more federal funds Illinois can potentially receive to close the digital divide.
Guide to helping expand access to high-speed Internet in Illinois
Do you, your family or business have access to reliable high-speed Internet? If not, please take a moment, and follow these steps to check the information in FCC maps, and if necessary, submit a challenge if that information can be made more accurate:
Search for your address at BroadbandMap.fcc.gov
  1. Click on the setting icon and under Technologies, check the box labeled “All Wired and Licensed Fixed Wireless” to select for reliable broadband technologies.
  2. Is the location information wrong? Click “Location Challenge.”
  3. Are any Internet services listed not available? Click “Availability Challenge.”
  4. Want to submit your information to the state and have a representative submit challenges on your behalf? Fill out a questionnaire.
Helpful resources
August 10, 2022

Important iFiber Information

iFiber is sharing the following information as part of its ongoing commitment to providing excellent customer service, including equipment maintenance.
  • Please don’t work in the cabinet, enclosure, and/or equipment labeled as iFiber. This could accidentally cause service interruptions in your location and could impact others as well. Call NIMC at 877-753-8100 or e-mail nimc@niu.edu if you notice damage to the equipment/enclosures, or have questions about anything that looks out of place.
  • Contact sales@ifiber.org and/or your local iFiber Outreach specialist if you are aware of, or are planning, any construction to your building or property. iFiber will investigate and determine if this could impact the connection or equipment. As a reminder, only iFiber contractors are allowed to relocate iFiber cable, enclosures, and equipment.
  • iFiber engineers work to maintain the iFiber equipment remotely. Unless instructed by an iFiber engineer/Outreach specialist, please do not unplug or attempt to connect to any iFiber equipment.
  • If you find that your Internet services are running slow consistently, contact sales@ifiber.org and let us help. iFiber provides your connection to the world via fiber. Individual services (such as Internet or phone service) are via a third party ISP. If anything is partially working (e.g. the Internet works, but is just slow), it’s quickest to start with whoever provides that service. iFiber will always support customer concerns; however,most often there is an issue with the service and not the fiber lines. Fiber is one of the most stable connection types and iFiber is committed to doing a great job managing its services. iFiber also can provide bandwidth reports to show you how your service is used and help you make an informed decision.
  • iFiber is a community-based, not-for-profit organization with an Open Access fiber system in your area. iFiber has low-cost solutions for both public and private entities. High-speed networks are crucial to the future of northwest Illinois communities.
June 15, 2022

Electronic Waste Recycling Offered to iFiber Customers

iFiber is pleased to share information about a not-for-profit organization, PCs for People (501(c)(3), a national leader in IT Asset Disposition. PCs for People will work with iFiber Community Anchor Institutions interested in donating excess computers and other electronic items for recycling or data destruction. Recycled computers are refurbished and distributed back into the community to support equal access to technology for low-income families.
PCs for People currently is supporting an effort in Whiteside County, IL, partnering with the Whiteside Area Career Center to give away 500 computers to low-income individuals. Members of PCs for People’s governing board have advised participants in the Accelerate Illinois program.
PCs for Peopleoffers asset pickup and removal, asset label/tag removal, certified drive removal and data sanitization, environmentally-responsible recycling or refurbishing, and detailed reporting with certificates of destruction. Please note: minimum quantities apply for pickup service.
PCs for People accepts computers & accessories, home entertainment equipment, servers & data center equipment, mobile devices, and office items. See the attached flyer (PDF) for more details: pcs-for-people-electronic-recycling-2022
Potential Supplier Partners:Organizations interested in contributing “retired” computers to PCs for People, should contact Loren Williams, Account Executive-ITAD Services, (lwilliams@pcsforpeople.org) or visit PC for People’s website: https://www.pcsforpeople.org/ewaste-pickup-and-removal/.
March 29, 2022

April is Safe Digging Month; iFiber Reminds Homeowners to Call 811

Four Steps to Every Safe Excavation Project

Illinois Fiber Resources Group, NFP (iFiber) joins JULIE, Inc., in recognizing April is National Safe Digging Month.

Homeowners and professional excavators in Illinois are reminded to call JULIE, Inc. (JULIE) at 8-1-1 before every digging project this spring, regardless of the size or depth. This is a free call and service.

JULIE’s helpful call center agents are available to receive and process requests 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 8-1-1. E-Request is also a convenient option for homeowners who prefer to enter their own utility locate requests via www.JULIEBeforeYouDig.com.

When calling 8-1-1, homeowners and contractors are connected to JULIE, Inc., the Illinois One-Call System, which notifies the appropriate utility companies of their intent to dig. Professional locators are then sent to the requested digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, paint or both. Every six minutes an underground utility line is damaged because someone decided to dig without first contacting JULIE.

Striking a single line can cause injury, repair costs, fines and inconvenient outages. Installing a mailbox, building a deck and planting a tree or garden are all examples of digging projects that require a call to JULIE.

The depth of utility lines can vary for a number of reasons, such as erosion, previous digging projects and uneven surfaces. Utility lines need to be properly marked because even when digging only a few inches, the risk of striking an underground utility line still exists. For more information on safe digging techniques, visit www.JULIEBeforeYouDig.com and follow “@JULIE1call” on Facebook and Twitter.

iFiber is committed to excellence in serving new and existing customers with its open-access fiber broadband network throughout Northwestern Illinois. iFiber is a provider of 21st Century high-speed (up to 10Gb) network transport services to both the public and private sector in Northwest Illinois and beyond. It is a mid-mile network offering the opportunity to connect with long-haul networks serving a broad and diverse region.

March 23, 2022

iFiber Team Committed to Excellence with Open-Access Fiber Broadband

Board and staff members directing the operations of iFiber and Fiber Ventures (iFiber’s for-profit arm) recently met in person for a planning retreat. Operations and board meetings mostly have been handled virtually during the COVID pandemic. The retreat allowed team members to discuss future plans as iFiber continues its commitment to excellence in serving new and existing customers with its open-access fiber broadband network throughout Northwestern Illinois. Board and team members also proudly modeled new iFiber-logo pullover shirts at the retreat.