Announcements

Illinois ARPA Accelerator: A New Resource for Communities Considering How to Use New Funding for Broadband

The $400 million Connect Illinois Broadband Grant Program and emerging federal broadband funding streams create an historic opportunity for community-driven broadband expansion throughout Illinois. To ensure the best possible outcomes regarding the use of these infrastructure programs, communities need to do the work necessary to set appropriate visions, gather critical information about their local marketplace and technology options, develop public-private partnerships, and obtain financing. Of course, this is no small task and not all communities are prepared to go down this road alone -- but the promise of reliable, high-performance, affordable broadband makes this unprecedented opportunity too good to pass up.

With local governments across Illinois considering use of state and federal funds for broadband -- such as Local Fiscal Recovery Fund dollars available through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society is leveraging philanthropic support to collaborate with the Illinois Office of Broadband and Illinois Extension on new engagement devoted to community-led broadband infrastructure expansion that positions local governments to succeed. The forthcoming Illinois ARPA Accelerator opportunity will engage an initial cohort of qualifying local governments with focused, in-depth preparation over a 14-week period beginning January 2022.

The Illinois ARPA Accelerator collaboration will provide a platform for local governments to build a community broadband team, gather essential information, determine acceptable community roles, identify broadband provider partners, and plan for broadband infrastructure projects.

Program updates, including application information, will be posted to this page soon! Please return here for the latest on this transformative opportunity or contact broadband@illinois.gov for any urgent inquiries.

Previous 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. Our previous webinars covered:

Register to attend or watch recent webinar recordings