CIRBN: Another government waste?

By:  Diane Benjamin

The Central Illinois Regional Broadband Network (CIRBN)  is part a project the State of Illinois applied for with the Federal government.  Illinois State University ended up with part of the grant which led to establishing CIRBN LLC.  Since CIRBN files non-profit tax returns, they should be incorporated as a non-profit on the Secretary of States website, but they aren’t:   https://www.ilsos.gov/corporatellc/CorporateLlcController

All of the original grant information and reports are available on this website:  https://www2.ntia.doc.gov/grantee/illinois-department-of-central-management-services

The total grant was $61,895,282.  CIRBN reports on their tax returns receiving $14,537,713 in 2013.  Since that amount is from a Federal grant – that’s your tax dollars.

From this story:  https://blnnews.com/2018/04/02/fazzini-correction-and-more-info/

Rob Fazzini signed contracts for the City of Bloomington with CIRBN while on the CIRBN Board but not a City employee.

At last count CIRBN has 4 employees.  They are paid by the Town of Normal and reimbursed by CIRBN so those employees have access to benefits.

If there is money to be made, the private sector does get around to investing.  Profit motives run all private enterprise. .  The Federal government funded expansion of broadband instead of allowing the markets to work.  If they wanted to speed up implementation, the feds could have funded private companies instead of creating more bureaucracy.  The grant linked above is just one of MANY the Feds approved going back to 2010.

If CIRBN is so great, why did Unit 5 vote in March to use them for one more year and then switch to Metronet (Metro Fibernet)?

The minutes from the March meeting only say this:   https://v3.boardbook.org/Public/PublicItemDownload.aspx?mk=50279018&fn=minutes.pdf

If any discussion took place it’s not in the minutes.

Metro Fibernet started in Indiana in 2005.   https://www.metronetinc.com/about/

The Federal grant funding CIRBN wasn’t available in 2005, so Metronet didn’t receive any money as a startup under this grant.

Unit 5 is paying CIRBN $17,880.06 a month.  They will be paying Metro Fibernet $13,975.00 a month.

Is this more proof government isn’t capable of doing what the private sector can?

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11 thoughts on “CIRBN: Another government waste?

  1. Private for-profit businesses will always be more efficient and better at the delivery of products and services than government funded/initiated non-profits. Now that a private for-profit business is providing fiber optic internet, CIRBN’s days are numbered.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Private is always more efficient and better? Why is there almost a weekly post complaining about the privatized recycling drop offs now?
      It doesn’t matter what either private or public service providers do. People on here will complain either way.

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      1. Because there isn’t any money in recycling, therefore government talks people into doing it and then quits paying for the service. If recycling was truly private only stuff that makes money would be recycled.

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      2. So you are believer that publicly run non-profits are as efficient as private for-profit companies? And I am not saying: “Why is there almost a weekly post complaining about the privatized recycling drop offs now?” So instead of trying to evade and gaslight the issue and me, perhaps you should do some research and come back with some evidence that publicly funded and run non-profits are as efficient as for-profit private businesses?

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  2. CIRBN needs to be shut down. But of course, as with almost all government programs, it will continue to be funded despite being a demonstrable failure. Extend and pretend. In fact, here in Bloomington-Normal, if your government-funded project s*cks, you’re rewarded with more taxpayer money and a bigger budget. Say hello, Downtown Business Association!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yup. I hear they’re running on fumes. The Unit 5 loss was a much bigger hit than implied. Are they the next vacancy in Downtown Bloomington?

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    1. Within the near future, everything in both cities will be on the chopping block. This entire area is in the beginning stages of a massive economic decline. City governments will be forced (because of declining revenue) to look for ways to save money. I expect CIRBN will be one of the first to go. Budget pressures will trump even the entrenched crony system that now supports CIRBN.

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  3. American IS a CAPITALIST country, and anything they such should fall under the magnifying glass, as either corrupt, illegal, immoral OR just plain bad business!!
    Now these folks come in here parading good deals, prices and balloons for all!
    WHAT happens after the GOOD part of the contract expires??

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  4. CIRBN keeps being propped up by its Board members like Town of Normal, last year they replaced $169/m Comcast Internet service for the Uppity town WifI with $1700/m CIRBN service and a $172000 equipment and build cost to be paid over 3 years. The other local IT firms and ISPs where not even given the chance to bid and no Normal Council person would answer my emails on why?

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    1. Maybe because CIRBN is part of the crony good old boy system here? A system that gives contracts to each other – goes to Chamber meetings together – sitting of various boards together – they are the power brokers here who pull all the strings. You are either part of their club or you are on the outside with your face pushed up against the window watching them each and drink with their buddies as they decide who gets the next contract or consulting job.

      Like

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