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The Chicago Southland Fiber Network names Rusty Winchel as executive director

The Chicago Southland Fiber Network (CSFN) board has named Rusty Winchel as executive director of the fiber optic and data services operating company. Since completion of construction in October of 2014, Mr. Winchel has been leading the transition activity to provide subscribers to the CSFN, access to Carrier Class data bandwidth, backhaul to multiple peering sites in Chicago and Oak Brook, and other services available on CSFN including Voice over IP and Data Center services provided by CSFN’s operating partner, Urbancom.

In addition to establishing the services offered by the fiber network, Mr. Winchel has put in place the key contracts to monitor and maintain the network to insure proactive maintenance and monitoring of the electronics and fiber cable and provide the shortest repair time possible in the event of equipment failure or a fiber cable cut.

Rusty has been a technology consultant for South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association since 2007 and was the Broadband Fiber Project Coordinator for the DCEO-funded construction project since February of 2012. Mr. Winchel is contracted for the Executive Director position through Northern Illinois University. NIU has provided leadership in northern Illinois and across the region establishing broadband and fiber networks in the municipal and public sectors, providing State-wide healthcare initiatives and infrastructure for economic development and job creation. For additional information, email:

SSMMA has long worked with its member municipalities to improve economic and community development in the region. The lack of high-speed fiber-based broadband has been seen as an impediment for institutions and businesses to choose to locate or expand their presence in the Southland. To address that concern, SSMMA secured funding for the development of the first phase of the Chicago Southland Fiber Network  Project, a regional fiber network and infrastructure initiative to provide affordable high speed broadband to multiple locations in the region.

Cook County and SSMMA, with grant funding from the State of Illinois “Illinois Jobs Now” program, constructed more than 60 miles of fiber optic backbone infrastructure in the Southern Cook and Eastern Will County corridor spanning 32 initial anchor sites including: south suburban municipalities, public safety sites, community colleges, Cook County anchor facilities, and economic development access sites along, and in proximity to, the I-57 corridor. The fiber optic infrastructure will be used to provide connectivity to high capacity Internet services, Illinois Century Network (ICN) access for education and public institutions, and dark fiber resources for both public and private entities to use for point-to-point or multi-point network and data applications.

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