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?