Thousands more Illinois jobs will be created as a result of broadband and wireless investments throughout the state of Illinois, according to the Illinois Technology Partnership’s (ITP) second quarterly broadband investment tracker.
More than $520 million in broadband and wireless investments have been announced since the tracker was launched in June 2010. As a result, at least 8,400 jobs could be created and 7 million residences, 300,000 businesses and 8,900 community institutions will be connected to high-speed Internet.
These numbers are potentially much higher, as last quarter the first 4G network upgrades were announced in the city of Chicago. Experts estimate the cost of 4G upgrades at $1.78 billion nationwide, and as the third largest metropolitan city in the country, Chicago can expect to see significant investment and job creation as a result.
Looking at the year ahead, Illinois companies are planning for major external investments in many key technology sectors throughout the state. According to a survey released last week by ITP, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and Open Systems Technologies, many firms have major external investments planned in the areas of broadband, smart grid, network operations and wireless. These investments will directly increase hiring of both full-time and contract employees in areas including mobile and wireless technologies, construction, engineering and information technology.
“More than half of the technology companies surveyed anticipate hiring between at least one and 20 full-time employees. That’s up 20 percent from last year,” said Lindsay Mosher, executive director of ITP. “As technology companies invest, this will also spur hiring for non-technology related positions in administration, marketing and sales to support this growth.”
Last session, the Illinois General Assembly passed, and Governor Quinn signed, legislation to update Illinois’ 25-year old telecommunications laws, opening the door for new investment.
“We have been tracking broadband and wireless announcements since June, and in just seven short months, significant investments in our state’s high-speed Internet infrastructure have been put forth,” said Mosher. “Innovative public policy can attract investment and create jobs – and as this tracker shows, broadband and wireless investments are great economic drivers.”
Visit www.iltechpartner.org to see ITP’s interactive broadband and wireless investment tracking map.