Benton Institute Collaborations


Benton Institute Collaborations

Let's Work Together to Make It Happen

Making sure that everyone in the U.S. can use High-Performance Broadband is a daunting task. Infrastructure builders, network operators, policymakers, advocates, practitioners, community anchor institutions, and philanthropy are just a few of the many needed to realize the promise and the benefits of universal broadband. Let’s work together to make it happen.

Benton Institute Current Collaborations


In its ongoing collaboration with the Illinois Office of Broadband, Benton implements the Illinois Connected Communities program which provides best practice curriculum, expert consultation, and other resources for community broadband planning and capacity building to communities unserved or underserved by broadband. The 12-month program, which combines state grant funds with community coaching, empowers communities to plot their own broadband futures and design action plans to use this powerful tool to improve community and economic development, education, civic engagement, healthcare, and more.

We jointly publish a bi-weekly newsletter called Illinois Broadband Connections. The newsletter provides information on statewide and local broadband initiatives in Illinois, as well as news of federal actions impacting broadband efforts in our state. The newsletter has tracked the progress of Illinois’ ambitious broadband agenda, growing to an audience of over 1,000 engaged subscribers. Sign up here!

Connecting the Heartland Logo


The Benton Institute for Broadband & Society, in collaboration with the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Development’s Office of Broadband and University of Illinois Extension, is leading the Accelerate Illinois Broadband Infrastructure Planning Program to help communities throughout Illinois leverage federal funds for community-driven broadband expansion. With the influx of federal funding, the Accelerate Illinois program helps local governments allocate these resources to close the digital divide in their communities. Two cohorts of six communities each will participate in an intensive 14-week program from February-August 2022. The program and the Accelerate: A Community Broadband Planning Program guidebook are made possible by funding from Heartland Forward’s Connecting the Heartland initiative.

Heartland Forward’s Connecting the Heartland Initiative has funded Benton Institute to implement Accelerate broadband infrastructure community planning programs in the states of Ohio and Arkansas in 2022 and in the state of Tennessee beginning in 2023.


The Benton Institute and the United Soybean Board are working together to understand and explain what kind of broadband connections farmers and ranchers will need to operate effectively and sustainably in the coming years. Building on rural broadband research in USB’s Rural Broadband and the American Farmer (2019), the project will identify diverse solutions to support the deployment of the kind of broadband that agriculture and rural communities require.

Benton convened agricultural leaders and broadband practitioners to discuss the best ways to create, and build awareness for, a rural broadband agenda among key agricultural leaders.

Our report was released in October 2021.

The Future of American Farming: Broadband Solutions for the Farm Office, Field, and Community


Projects and Programs

We work better when we work together. If you support closing the digital divide, we should explore how a joint effort can help us fulfill our missions.


Our mission depends on collaborations. Let’s work together.

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