The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced that Illinois received its first “Internet for All” grants for deploying high-speed Internet networks and developing digital skills training programs under the Biden-Harris Administration’s Internet for All initiative. Illinois is receiving $6,515,352.64 in funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, signed by President Biden, to plan for the deployment and adoption of affordable, equitable, and reliable high-speed Internet service throughout the state.
“Closing the digital divide in Illinois is essential to education, accessing health care, and creating jobs,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “I thank Governor Pritzker for pushing forward to connect all of Illinois to affordable, reliable high-speed Internet.”
“I’m proud that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is helping the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity develop plans to improve broadband infrastructure for underserved communities,” Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth said. “As we’ve seen throughout the pandemic, we know that internet access is crucial for public health, the success of small businesses, educating our children, improving quality of life and so much more. Every single Illinoisan deserves reliable broadband—no matter their zip code.”
“Every single household, business, and school deserves reliable access to high-speed internet,” said Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin. “This investment will allow us to continue narrowing the digital-divide across Illinois and ensure our infrastructure meets the needs of all residents. I’ll keep working to bring this federal funding home, so all Illinoisans have access to the information they need to thrive in today’s digital world.”
“Thanks to these investments, more Illinoisans than ever before will now have access to the opportunities that stem from 21st century broadband infrastructure,” said Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker. “This funding bolsters my administration’s Connect Illinois program, providing modern educational tools for residents regardless of their zip code. I’m grateful to our partners in the Biden-Harris administration for their continued investment in the state of Illinois.”
“Whether you are in the classroom or looking for your next opportunity, access to high-speed internet is more important than ever in our increasingly digital world,” said Rep. Robin Kelly (IL-02). “With grants provided by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Illinois residents in urban, suburban, and rural communities will have better access to high quality information. I was proud to support these programs in Congress and I look forward to watching our communities thrive.”
“Access to broadband in today’s economy is essential, yet this pandemic makes evident that marginalized communities, both rural and urban, continue to face significant barriers to this essential service. I am thrilled to see Illinois receiving over $6.5 million through the Digital Equity Program and the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment Program – both created by the law we helped craft and pass. It’s time we give every child and home the tools they need to thrive and these funds help close the digital divide so many Latino, Black, and working-class people face in Chicago and throughout the state,” said Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García (IL-04).
“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is coming through for Illinois once again,” said Rep. Mike Quigley (iL-05). “Broadband is a key driver of economic growth and innovation, has democratized access to educational resources and new job opportunities, and has broadened availability of health care and social services. Access to high-speed internet is no longer a luxury—it’s an integral and necessary part of our society. Expanding broadband access through grants like this, will ensure Illinoisians in all communities are provided the tools they need to succeed.”
“This funding is an investment in more than just our infrastructure, but in our families, our economy, and our future,” said Rep. Lauren Underwood (IL-14). “Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, these grants will connect more of our community to high-speed internet, which is more important than ever in today’s world. One of my top priorities is bringing home federal dollars so that Illinois families can thrive, and I’m pleased to see this funding made available to our communities.”
All 50 U.S. states and six territories applied for planning grant funding for the Internet for All initiative’s Broadband, Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) program and the Digital Equity Act program. Grant awards for all 56 eligible entities will be announced on a rolling basis.
About Illinois Planning Grants
Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program
The BEAD Program provides $42.45 billion to expand high-speed Internet access by funding planning, infrastructure deployment and adoption programs.
Illinois will receive $5 million to fund various activities including:
- Creation of five-year “Connect Illinois” action plan;
- Identification of unserved and underserved locations;
- Increasing capacity and staffing of Illinois’ state broadband office;
- Surveys of underserved, unserved and underrepresented communities to better understand barriers to high-speed Internet adoption;
- Identification and elimination of digital equity gaps in alignment with the Digital Equity program.
The Digital Equity Act provides $2.75 billion to establish three grant programs to ensure that all people and communities have the skills, technology, and capacity needed to reap the full benefits of our digital economy. The first part of NTIA’s execution of the Digital Equity Act is to fund digital equity planning efforts.
Illinois will receive $1,515,352.64 to fund various activities including:
- Creation of an Illinois state Digital Equity plan;
- Cohort-wide meetings and kick-off events;
- Data snapshots for each region and state on critical digital equity indicators;
- Digital navigator capacity and training systems;
- Data collection and sharing through the Illinois Broadband Lab collaboration — such as annual broadband access mapping.
Internet for All
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes a historic $65 billion investment to expand affordable and reliable high-speed Internet access in communities across the U.S. NTIA recently launched a series of new high-speed Internet grant programs funded by the law that will build high-speed Internet infrastructure across the country, create more low-cost high-speed Internet service options, and address the digital equity and inclusion needs in our communities.
Additionally, the Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) provides a discount of up to $30 per month toward Internet service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Visit AffordableConnectivity.gov to learn more.
For more information on the Biden-Harris Administration’s high-speed Internet service programs, please visit InternetforAll.gov.