“When it comes to opportunity in America, digital equity reminds me of the tail of two cities - the haves and the have nots… this divide is now centered in a spotlight because of COVID-19, with issues relating to poverty, healthcare, education, and economic opportunity.” 

-Lt. Governor Julianna Stratton, June 3, 2020

Illinois Extension’s Community and Economic Development program has partnered with the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Illinois Office of Broadband, and the Benton Institute for Broadband and Society, in outreach aimed to extend critical high-speed internet access across the state.

To educate potential applicants on Connect Illinois, the nation’s largest competitive matching grant program, the Illinois Office of Broadband has been using our Local Government Education platform to announce funding opportunities, and interact with potential grantees and awardees to build a most robust approach in educational outreach, digital inclusion, community planning, and infrastructure initiatives. Our educational programs, in partnership with both the Illinois Office of Broadband and the Benton Institute for Broadband and Society, also includes smaller grantee sessions on adoption and use, strategic planning, access, service assessments and community demand, broadband technology, feasibility studies, and project development. 

To date, the webinars have garnered 1284 participants and 1334 recording views. We have featured two additional funding opportunities, Illinois Connected Communities and Connect Illinois Round 2.  We have hosted 8 community planning sessions for the initial Illinois Connected Communities awardees, which consist of four school districts, two community-based organizations, two local governments, two county-level organizations, and two economic development organizations. We have hosted additional informational webinars on Digital Equity Grants and the Digital Navigator Program. We are geared up to host more grant cohort sessions in Spring 2021, as well as webinars to support applicants for additional rounds for both the Connect Illinois infrastructure grants and the Illinois Connected Communities grants.  

Upcoming Sessions

To be announced shortly...

 

Webinars

 

CONNECT ILLINOIS - ROUND 2

Connect Illinois Broadband Grant Program Round 2 - October 23 2020

Connect Illinois Broadband Grant Program Round 2 *UPDATE* - December 4, 2020

Connect Illinois Round 2 Applicant Forum - January 8, 2021

Connect Illinois Round 2 Grant Program Overview, Requirements, Office hours, and more - March 5, 2021

ILLINOIS OFFICE OF BROADBAND 

Illinois Office of Broadband Digital Navigator Program - December 11, 2020

Illinois Office of Broadband Digital Equity Grant Program - November 20, 2020

Federal Funding Opportunities for Community Broadband - January 22, 2021

ILLINOIS CONNECTED COMMUNITIES ROUND 1

Illinois Connected Communities Grant Program - May 29, 2020

Illinois Connected Communities Round 1 Report Out (Tips for Round 2) - January 14, 2021

BROADBAND LEADERSHIP 

Broadband Leadership Series (PT 1) - Broadband: Now More than Ever - May 13, 2020 (with remarks from Gov JB Pritzker)

Broadband Leadership Series (PT 2) - Community Broadband Development - May 20, 2020

Broadband Leadership Series (PT 3) - Broadband 101 - May 27, 2020

Broadband Leadership Series (PT 4) - Digital Inclusion - June 3, 2020 (with remarks from Lt Gov Julianna Stratton)

CONNECT ILLINOIS - ROUND 1

Connect Illinois Grant Program for Broadband Infrastructure (Part 1) - February 13, 2020

Connect Illinois Grant Program for Broadband Infrastructure (Part 2) - February 21, 2020

Connect Illinois Grant Program for Broadband Infrastructure (Part 3) - February 28, 2020

Connect Illinois Grant Program for Broadband Infrastructure (Part 4) - March 20, 2020