State gets more than $1 billion in funds for high-speed internet

The governor’s office, along with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), said Illinois will be receiving over $1 billion in funding to support high-speed internet access through the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program.

This grant will help fund the development of high-speed infrastructure across the nation as part of President Biden’s Internet for All initiative.

“This funding is a significant step in ensuring Illinoisans across the state have access to the reliable high-speed internet that they need,” Prizker said when making the announcement on June 26. “I am committed to making Illinois a leader when it comes to technology and innovation, and access to broadband is a critical service for all residents who rely on high-speed internet for everything from healthcare and education, to running a business.”

The $1 billion in funding will build upon Illinois $420 million Connect Illinois broadband infra-structure plan — a part of Rebuild Illinois, focused on delivering upgrades to ensure that every community across the state has 21st century broadband capability.

Connect Illinois includes allocating $400 million to the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) to deploy statewide broadband expansion, especially for the rural families and communities that have been the most impacted by the digital divide.

It also includes $20 million to repair, enhance, and expand broadband for schools with a focus on K-12 education.

The BEAD Program is the federal government’s largest-ever investment in the expansion of high-speed internet access and focuses on connecting underserved and rural communities.