In 1993, CWLP began installing fiber to meet its internal needs for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA),
load control and other current and future utility functions on a synchronous optical network (SONET) system. By 1996,
CWLP was utilizing the fiber network for data and voice communications between our major facilities.
In 1997, an agreement between CWLP and Springfield School District 186 led to the installation of fiber,
providing a 10 megabyte (Mb) Wide Area Network (WAN) service to 21 District 186 facilities.
By late 1998, the School District’s need for increased bandwidths coincided with CWLP’s own growing need for higher-speed WAN connections.
With the assistance of a federal grant obtained by District 186, CWLP was, in early 2000,
able to install an Ethernet network that provides communication speeds in excess of 1 billion bits per second.
The Ethernet network currently runs on over 270 miles of fiber optic cable and is remotely monitored
from CWLP’s network management center at the 10th and Miller Dispatch Center. This allows necessary changes to be made in a timely manner,
usually without changes to any of the electronic equipment. The network is continually monitored by qualified network management personnel.
CWLP’s network provides multiple paths across the Ethernet backbone. The system is designed to provide a high level of redundancy,
which, in turn, ensures a high level of system reliability. By providing multiple paths,
the system can be rerouted around a single point in the event of a failure along one or more of the paths. In addition,
critical sites can be dual connected to the network, providing even greater reliability.
The Ethernet network far surpassed the requirements of both CWLP and District 186.
In fact, less than 5% of the system’s total capacity was being utilized by these parties,
which means the excess capabilities of the network offered great potential to CWLP and the city of Springfield. As a result,
the utility decided to take advantage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which allowed electric utilities to
join the list of companies allowed to provide WAN and related bandwidth services on a commercial basis.
The act also enables residential and small commercial customers to obtain competitive telecommunications services that previously
had been available only to larger commercial and industrial customers. CWLP holds a Certificate of Authority from the Illinois Commerce Commission,
allowing it to serve as a telecommunications provider.
While CWLP’s current network is primarily used for voice, data and other utility-specific functions,
the system is capable of providing a multitude of additional services.
The bandwidth CWLP offers can provide commercial and industrial customers the following capabilities:
Commercial and industrial customers will benefit from the opportunity to receive these services from a municipal provider
known for its high level of service. Customers will also benefit financially as a result of the additional competition CWLP
can bring to the telecommunications service marketplace. Lastly, the community as a whole will benefit from the economic
development that will be produced by the expansion of CWLP’s existing fiber optics network.
Today, the utility provides telecommunications services to approximately 70 area entities—including schools,
medical facilities, banks, insurance companies, county offices, and car dealerships.
The most common use of the telecommunications service provided by CWLP is the linking of remote facilities,
enabling customers to connect their local area networks (LANs) to create wide-area networks (WANs) with little or no degradation in data delivery speed.
To find out more about CWLP’s Fiber Optics and Telecommunications Services for Commercial and Industrial customers, call 217.757.8520 Ext. 2129 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.