The Accelerate Illinois Broadband Infrastructure Planning Program

The Accelerate Illinois Broadband Infrastructure Planning Program Notice of Collaboration Opportunity (NOCO) is now available and the Illinois Office of Broadband is accepting applications from local governments through December 30, 2021. 

The new planning and capacity-building program is designed to help Illinois communities leverage historic broadband infrastructure funding for community-driven broadband expansion and public-private partnership. The Accelerate Illinois program—a  collaborative effort among the Illinois Office of Broadband, the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society, and University of Illinois Extension—offers Illinois local governments an intensive 14-week community engagement program with expert support provided by the Benton Institute. The opportunity is made possible through the financial support of Heartland Forward and its Connecting the Heartland Initiative.

The historic funding that is available through Connect Illinois and federal broadband programs—most notably through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act—will significantly benefit communities that prepare in advance. The Accelerate Illinois program is designed to help communities do this preparation. It provides a platform for communities to build inclusive broadband teams; determine acceptable community roles; set visions; gather critical information about their local marketplace, technology options, and broadband provider partners; develop public-private partnerships, obtain financing, and implement projects.

The Accelerate Illinois program recognizes that not all communities are prepared to take advantage of these broadband funding programs. While communities will not receive grant funding, program participants each will benefit from 30-plus hours of free expert consultation and access to best-practice engagement in community-driven broadband planning.

For questions, contact Bill Coleman at bcoleman@benton.org

Webinars

Illinois Extension’s Local Government Education (LGE) program partners with the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Illinois Office of Broadband and the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society, in outreach aimed to extend critical high-speed internet access across the state.

Register to attend or watch recent webinar recordings