For many businesses today, high-speed broadband is an essential service on par with water, gas and electric. Here in central Illinois, i3 Broadband has built the largest independent fiber-optic network in the region—providing high-speed internet, voice and television services to more than 40,000 business and residential clients in Greater Peoria, Champaign-Urbana and elsewhere in central Illinois.
Earlier this year, i3 Broadband received six 2019 Internet Provider Awards from the consumer internet search service BroadbandNow. Among midsized service providers, the company was named the second fastest internet provider in the entire nation, while its customer approval rating was among the top five nationwide—a testament to their commitment to provide the best customer experience possible through local operations, exceptional staff and community involvement.
With internet speed now a key factor in decision making for both companies and individuals, i3 Broadband is a huge asset to the Greater Peoria region. Peoria Magazine caught up with Jeff Segneri, Director of Marketing, to ask about the company’s investment in the region and plans for future growth.
i3 Broadband was previously known as iTV-3, prior to its 2016 acquisition by CountryWide Broadband. How have operations changed or evolved since the acquisition?
Operations have only improved at i3 Broadband since the acquisition. The investment has fueled the rollout of a new fiber-optic network throughout central Illinois and improved our existing network. After the acquisition in 2016, the entire staff was retained. The CountryWide Broadband ownership shares the mission of providing superior customer service in an industry that’s notorious for poor customer service.
Please describe the company’s investment in connecting the Peoria area via fiber. How fast are you expanding capacity?
I3 Broadband’s investment in central Illinois encompasses adding an additional 5,000 to 10,000 homes per year. This reflects an investment of tens of millions of dollars annually. In addition, I3 Broadband has thousands of businesses locally throughout central Illinois that utilize our services. Our commercial sales team is in constant communication with community leaders about their needs and access to our fiber services for businesses locating in central Illinois.
What sets your service packages apart from others in the industry?
We base our pricing on fair and honest standards, without hidden fees or contracts. We want our customers to continue being our customers, and not feel they are being nickel-and-dimed by their internet/cable provider.
i3 Broadband was recently named the second-fastest mid-tier internet provider in the entire nation and top 10 in customer satisfaction, among other awards. Why is this recognition important to regional economic development efforts?
In a technologically evolving world, having access to the highest-class broadband continues to be a focal point for many communities throughout the country. Towns with lesser broadband access find themselves falling behind. I3 Broadband is in consistent communication with the Greater Peoria Economic Development Council on the broadband needs of businesses that are considering locating to central Illinois. The benefits of fiber connectivity include workforce development, small business development, improved access to services, and reduced service costs for subscribers due to more competition.
How does being locally owned enhance your business development efforts and/or customer service?
Being a locally owned, smaller operator allows us access to fast decision making so we can quickly respond and resolve any problems for our customers. Being local also provides our customers with peace of mind so that when they do have questions or concerns, they can physically come into our office and get them answered, or call our support team who sits right here in our office.
Are you looking to expand beyond the Peoria and Champaign/Urbana markets? Where are you seeking to grow?
Our main strategy of growth is to continue expanding our current fiber network throughout central Illinois. In addition, acquisitions are an important component of our growth strategy. In January of 2018, CountryWide Broadband acquired Full Channel Inc., which serves customers in Warren, Bristol and Barrington, Rhode Island.
How do you expect 5G wireless technologies to impact the role of fiber in the future?
I3 Broadband’s fiber optic network is the wire behind wireless technologies. So, if it weren’t for companies like i3 Broadband, 5G would not be possible. While the customer is connected to a wireless network, that network is connected to our wired network. PM
For more information, visit i3broadband.com or call (309) 689-0711.