In Illinois, the governor's Broadband Deployment Council has developed recommendations for growing Internet infrastructure to ensure the future economic vitality of the state. These recommendations raise a number of questions for local planners.
In this program, Ronald Thomas, AICP, and Layton Olson, co-chairs of the infrastructure and demand committees of Illinois Broadband Deployment Council, discussed how broadband right-of-way planning works in the physical and virtual world. They also speculated on how broadband speeds could redefine the built environment.
Ronald Thomas, AICP, was the executive director of the Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission from 2000–2008. He led the commission's Common Ground initiative, which has become a national model for community-based regional planning. He is currently consulting on the Charleston, South Carolina, Regional Plan, the America 2050 Megaregion initiative, and the Illinois Broadband Initiative.
Layton Olson is an attorney, government relations advisor, and project manager with over 40 years of experience in California, Chicago and Washington, D.C. Since 1995, he has been working at Howe & Hutton, Ltd. Olson has led Chicago regional and Illinois statewide public-private initiatives in environmental improvement, regional planning, leadership development, and telecommunication extension to underserved areas.