CHICAGO – December 23, 2009. Governor Pat Quinn today announced that Illinois has received $1.8 million in funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to improve broadband access throughout the state. The grant, awarded by the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), will assist the state with broadband mapping and planning efforts.
“This funding will help ensure that no one in Illinois is left out of the technological revolution. Today, too many individuals are without access to affordable internet service – this is especially true in our rural and low-income communities,” said Governor Quinn. “This funding is a big step toward realizing Illinois' broadband goals.”
A Partnership for a Connected Illinois (Connect Illinois) is the non-profit entity that has been designated by the state to manage this project. Connect Illinois will use approximately $1.3 million of the funding for broadband data collection and mapping activities and approximately $500,000 for broadband planning activities.
Once complete, Illinois will have statewide data on the availability, speed and location of broadband services. The data collected and compiled will be used to develop broadband maps with the intention of targeting state resources to unserved and underserved areas. The data will also eventually help populate a national broadband map.
“These maps will ultimately help us focus state resources on the neediest areas, helping to ensure that no matter where you live, you have the availability and access to internet service,” said Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Director Warren Ribley. “With these resources, we’re opening the door to greater opportunities for 21st century job growth and economic prosperity in Illinois."
A long-time advocate of improving the state’s broadband access, Governor Quinn has taken many significant steps to ensure connectivity in all areas of Illinois. The Illinois Jobs Now! capital bill provides funding for placing fiber-optic network conduit along highway projects in unserved areas; and the state provided technical grant writing assistance and matching grants to ARRA applicants who would provide broadband services. The federal government is expected to announce those grant recipients at any time.
For more information on the state’s broadband efforts, visit www.Broadband.illinois.gov.