Six Communities Selected for Accelerate Illinois Broadband
Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Office of Broadband have selected the City of Springfield, Jackson County, Knox County, Mercer County, Whiteside County and the Village of Elsah to participate in the inaugural cohort of the Accelerate Illinois Broadband Infrastructure Planning Program.
The program includes 14 weeks of intensive training designed to help community leaders develop broadband plans that meet unique local needs and position them to effectively use newly available state and federal broadband infrastructure funding.
With the recent passage of the $1 trillion federal infrastructure plan, Illinois communities are due to receive additional funding for the expansion of broadband infrastructure. The federal funds are in addition to Governor Pritzker’s bipartisan Rebuild Illinois capital plan which dedicated $420 million to broadband expansion as well as funds made available through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
Accelerate Illinois is “designed to level the playing field and allow cities and counties of all sizes and staffing levels to apply for these funds and plan to most effectively implement them in their communities,” notes an Illinois.gov press release.
“Broadband infrastructure is only as useful as it is accessible to the people who need it – so my administration is partnering with local jurisdictions to develop broadband plans responsive to their unique local needs,” Pritzker said in a prepared statement.
“Thanks to our Connect Illinois initiative and federal funding on the way from President Biden’s infrastructure plan, there’s never been more potential to reach our goal of closing the digital divide here in Illinois. I’m grateful to Heartland Forward, the Benton Institute and all our partners on the Accelerate Illinois program working to ensure communities across our state are prepared to utilize this funding effectively.”