(KMOV) -- A Metro-East town is rolling out the first phase of a plan to provide its own high-speed Internet, TV, and phone services.
Highland, Illinois is constructing its own fiber-optic network. Ten businesses agreed to be test sites and are trying out the city's Internet service.
"We really have been impressed by how much speed we are getting out of the fiber network", said Jeff Guillot of Guillot Technology Services.
Guillot demonstrated how he can run a diagnostic test, watch a movie, a youtube video, and a TV show at the same time on his laptop.
Once the test period is over, Guillot will be among Highland's first customers. He said his company has already signed a contract.
In 2009, voters agreed to allow the city to borrow $9 million to fund the start up of Highland Communication Services. The municipality will offer Internet, cable and TV much like it offers water and sewer services to the community: www.ci.highland.il.us/Public_Documents/HighlandIL_HCS/index
"It would give us the ability to attract other businesses to see the city of Highland and settle in here and build the economy," said Dan Cook, the director of Highland Power and Fiber.
The initial taxpayer investment pays for the first two phases of the project. Businesses will be the first to be offered high-speed Internet, followed by TV and phone services. Phase two will include 1,800 residential customers. Highland hopes revenue generated by those customers will pay for further expansion of the network.
Highland's city council plans to vote on the price schedule next week. Cook said he expects the council would agree to charge as little at $29 a month for home Internet service.
Last year, News 4 reported on the groundbreaking of the project. At the time, the city applied for stimulus funds to speed up expansion, but the funding wasn't granted.
Watch previous coverage here: www.kmov.com/community/blogs/reporters-blog/Metro-East-Town-Jumps-into-High-Speed-Internet-Business-87180667.html