High-speed Internet service might seem ubiquitous, but it's still a luxury for some Illinois residents living in rural areas.
13% of the state had no broadband access, other than satellite and cellular offerings, at the end of 2011 under minimums set by the Federal Communications Commission.
But rural electric and telephone co-ops across the state have begun extending fiber-optic broadband.
That includes Shawnee Telephone, a communications co-op in southeastern Illinois, which began extending fiber-optic broadband to more than 1,200 rural households, more than 400 businesses and almost three dozen public schools, libraries and law-enforcement agencies in 2010 using millions in federal grants and loans. The expansion is scheduled for completion this fall.
Other wireless carriers and co-ops also are working on upgrades.