News from the ITA

August 9, 2019


 DoIT Announces Changes to K-12 Public School Service & E-rate

The Illinois Department of Innovation & Technology recently posted information regarding the changes the agency is making in the way the Illinois Century Network will serve K-12 public schools. The following is a summary of the changes and information we obtained from a recent conversation with DoIT about the changes. As always, please contact Randy with any questions.

  • As of July 1, 2019, the ICN is waiving service charges for public K-12 schools and will provide all traditional services as well as new security services at no cost. DoIT says the new K-12 initiative is intended to return to past practice and their original charter when the network was built. At that time, the ICN provided backbone service to schools at no-cost as it was originally intended for anchor institutions. However, the ICN could not sustain the no-cost service over time. The returned focus on the backbone network instead of the last mile will maximize state agency resources and will be limited to K-12 public schools due to funding limitations.
  • On July 1, 2020, ICN will discontinue participating as a USAC E-rate Service Provider and no longer compete with the private sector for E-rate contracts. DoIT will form a consortium acting as an E-rate applicant on behalf of all the public K-12 schools in the consortia. This Fall, DoIT will issue Form 470 RFPs for Internet access and supporting transport (Last Mile). DoIT says the ICN will provide backbone Internet service and the agency will rely on existing service providers for last mile connections and transport. DoIT says they need the service provider community to respond to the E-Rate RFP for last mile service and transport and they assert that this initiative is intended to be a public private partnership and not an expansion of their network. Schools that have existing contracts with other service providers will have to fulfill those contracts before joining the DoIT consortia. 

Newly Expanded 2019 ITA Vendor Showcase is Just a Few Weeks Away! 

We have put together an outstanding agenda for the fall ITA Vendor Showcase. We have expanded the agenda this year to provide more presentations from industry leaders. The presentations will provide important information pertinent to your entire organization from executives to general managers, engineers, technicians and every employee working to provide the services your customers demand!

In addition to our breakout sessions, ITA President, Randy Nehrt, will provide an update on legislative and regulatory issues, including Governor JB Pritzker’s $400 million program to improve broadband access throughout the state.

You won’t want to miss the popular open forum session that provides an outstanding atmosphere to discuss current issues with your peers. Whether it’s content delivering networks and peering exchanges, OTT video options, the status of 5G and its impact on the industry, managed WiFi, opportunities to grow your ARPU or any other issue your company is considering, the open forum session is a great opportunity to learn how your colleagues are addressing the same issues.

The Vendor Exhibition always provides a great opportunity to discuss issues with our associate members providing the best products and services to the telecom and broadband industry, and we have expanded networking events this year as well.

We hope to see you in East Peoria for the ITA Vendor Showcase September 4-6!

Don't forget, the DEADLINE for Hotel Block room rate is August 20, 2019!

Register Today!!

Thanks to our sponsors

Gigabit Partners:

Mid-State Consultants, Inc.

Vermeer Midwest


Megabit Partners:


Vantage Point Solutions

ComEd Energy Efficiency Program


Diamond Sponsor:

Frontier Communications


Gold Sponsors:

Calix, Inc.

Communications Data Group

UNITEL Insurance



Finley Engineering


Silver Sponsors:

ElectriCom, Inc.

Power & Tel




Metaswitch Networks

Core Telecom Systems


Golf Hole Sponsors:


Mid-State Consultants, Inc.

Harrisonville Telephone Company

Broadband Technology Group

Vermeer Midwest



Frontier Communications

Tharp Brothers, LTD


Trapshooting Sponsors:


Jansen Cable Construction

Tharp Brothers Construction

Vermeer Midwest

 Illinois Link-Up Program Information

In December of 2018, the Illinois Commerce Commission approved a petition to expand the Universal Telephone Assistance Corporation’s Link-Up program to allow for broadband installation fee waivers for low-income consumers. The UTAC Link-Up program has traditionally provided low-income assistance for telephone service – currently in the form of a waiver of installation charges up to $35 for telephone service for qualifying low-income consumers. With fewer consumers ordering traditional landline phone service, the Illinois General Assembly provided legislative authority for the UTAC Board of Directors to petition the ICC to expand UTAC-supported services to include waivers for broadband installation charges as well.

The low-income broadband program is a voluntary program open to all Internet Service Providers and would work the same as the current program for telephone service. Participating companies would be required to solicit voluntary contributions from customers as they currently do for telephone customers. To participate, an ISP must submit the attached agreement to UTAC. More information about the issue can be found in the Illinois Commerce Commission Docket and Final Order for 18-1584.

Additional information can also be found on this ICC consumer webpage: Universal Telephone Assistance Programs. Please feel free to contact Randy with any questions.


Illinois Telecommunications Association

312 S. 4th Street, Suite 100

           Springfield, IL 62701             

 (217) 572-1262