USDA ReConnect Grant - Second Year and Future Fiber Neighborhoods Construction Schedule Announced

When Will Construction Begin?

The Sand Prairie team has been busy working through the multiple federal grant requirements including federal environmental reviews, proper easements acquisition, and obtaining permits that must be completed before fiber buildout can begin.

Year Two – Buildout of Fiber Neighborhoods

We are excited to announce the second-year buildout of the USDA ReConnect grant that includes the five fiber neighborhoods indicated below.

  • ELZ11 – Elizabeth (rural area)
  • FRZ1  – Nora and rural area
  • PAL1  – Savanna (rural area)
  • PAL2  – Savanna (rural area)
  • WBN1 – Elizabeth/Woodbine (rural area)

All of these fiber neighborhoods related to the grant award will be begin in “Preconstruction” (Phase 3) in Sand Prairie’s six-step build-out process. They are anticipated to begin “Construction” (Phase 4) of the mainline fiber buildout in September 2022 pending arrival of fiber materials.

Future Buildout of Fiber Neighborhoods

Visit our USDA ReConnect Grant Map under our Fiber Communities webpage to view the anticipated timeline of the start of fiber construction for the following areas:

  • CDW1 – Chadwick (rural area)
  • CDW2 – Chadwick (rural area)
  • HAN1 – Hanover (rural area)
  • HAN2 – Hanover (rural area)
  • G19 – Galena (rural area)
  • MEN2 – Menominee (rural area)
  • MEN3 – Menominee (rural area)
  • SR1 – Sand Ridge (East Dubuque/Menominee rural area)
  • CPR1 – Council Hill area

Jesse Shekleton, Director of Broadband, states, “Sand Prairie is working through the challenges of the increased demand for materials and delivery delays, specifically fiber materials that are affecting the entire fiber industry. We are continually seeking expedited fiber resources. We appreciate your patience, and the Sand Prairie team is doing everything we can while working through these challenging times.”

USDA ReConnect Grant Overview

Jo-Carroll Energy was awarded a $14 million ReConnect grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide broadband service in unserved and underserved rural areas. Sand Prairie, a service of Jo-Carroll Energy, is using the grant monies to bring high-speed fiber internet to an area covering approximately 250 square miles, and providing access to over 3,000 rural homes in rural portions of Jo Daviess, Carroll, Whiteside and Stephenson counties.

What Is Being Constructed?

A high-speed, high-capacity fiber-to-the-premise (FTTP) network within the 21 fiber neighborhoods will be constructed of both aerial and underground fiber applications following the existing Jo-Carroll Energy utility services, where available. Fiber internet utilizes a fiber-optic cable to connect to the internet. Jo-Carroll Energy plans to complete all of the proposed fiber neighborhoods in five years as required by the grant, but plans to expedite the build in four years or less.