By Kyla Hurt
Chances are you’ve heard some talk about i3 Broadband, or you have seen their marked trucks and orange tape marking off digging sites in various areas of Jacksonville.
The East Peoria-based company started construction in Jacksonville just a few blocks west of downtown the first week of September as part of their agreement with the City of Jacksonville, which was signed mid-August.
“We’re the largest fiber-to-the-home network provider in Central Illinois – providing internet, television and voice services throughout our 100% fiber underground network,” clarifies i3 Broadband General Manager Brian Olson.
The company has been in business since the late ‘90s but started offering widespread residential services in 2009. Olson summarizes with a grin, “We always like to say we’ve been in business since dial-up was cool.”
i3 Broadband Director of Sales and Marketing Josh Bradbury says the beginning goals were securing a warehouse for all the materials and holding interviews to hire an initial dozen or so for assorted positions. They hope to have a brick and mortar by the end of the year. Bradbury adds about hiring, “Pretty much all the positions are such that we can train the skills necessary. The thing that we look for is someone … it’s customer service … but really, it’s how you treat our customers.”
Anyone interested in positions may click on “careers” in the top right of the home page of their website, www.i3broadband.com. While there, look around to learn more about i3 Broadband and their offerings. The site boasts “No contracts. No data caps. No hidden fees.” Olson says further, “Right now, you can … go to our website, type in any address in the city … it should populate with a congratulatory answer saying that we’ve partnered with the city and from that point, you can click upon that to sign up for services or you can just browse what services and pricing is available at that address. But, that’s the trick … you have to type in your address to get the result,” notes Olson. “It’s all the same pricing and services throughout the entire state generally in Illinois … and no tricks and no gimmicks. Anybody can sign up for services on the internet through the website … the day that service becomes available to that home, the day that the network activates, is the same day that our call center actually will send out an email letting that person know that service is available.”
They explain that even if someone has signed up as interested in services when the time comes that service is available for their residence, they are not committed. Regardless of whether or not a household chooses to move ahead with i3 Broadband for services, there is more competition. “Josh and I always say that bringing a fiberoptic network into a community is a multifaceted economic driver … what the competition reaction will be and the lower pricing that everyone in the community benefits from,” states Olson.
If there’s something that they want to communicate with people, says Bradbury, “We want to make you happy. If there is a problem or an issue with the construction process, please call us. We want to address it. We want to fix it. We want to do that as soon as possible.”
Per the construction and burial of cables, i3 Broadband effectively started centrally in Jacksonville and is working its way outward.
Bradbury discusses some of the benefits of i3 Broadband, “One, it’s the reliability of an underground fiberoptic network. Typically, we have significantly faster speeds – both download speeds as well as upload speeds. With the amount of Zoom calls in the last five months, people have really realized they’re hugely underserved by the cable company and there’s a need for upload. What was it, two months ago, we increased all of the upload speeds at no cost for all our packages because we see that people have that need. For instance, our 1 gig service has an upload of 400 megabytes per second. Comparative to the cable companies, that’s more like 10-15 is typically more like where they are able to provide at a similar download.”
“There are no data caps with any plan. We don’t do any residential contracts, so we always say that we earn your business every day,” adds Bradbury. ‘Typically, we’re going to give you more for less [money] with better service.”