Biden-Harris Administration Approves Illinois, Oregon, and Puerto Rico’s “Internet for All” Initial Proposal

The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has approved Illinois, Oregon, and Puerto Rico’s Initial Proposals for the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program, a cornerstone of the Biden-Harris Administration’s “Internet for All” initiative. This approval enables Illinois, Oregon, and Puerto Rico to request access to funding and begin implementation of the BEAD program. Today’s action allows the entities to request access to:  

FWA Provider Rise Broadband Continues Fiber Deployment Spree

Some fixed wireless providers are deploying fiber broadband in some areas, as illustrated by Rise Broadband. The company has made fiber broadband available to 60,000 residences and businesses in south Texas and 5,000 in Illinois. Rise Broadband said that its fiber Internet services are available to 25 communities in Texas.

Leadership Transition for Illinois Broadband Lab Collaborators

Devon Braunstein is taking the helm as Deputy Director of the Illinois Office of Broadband at the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and Matt Schmit is poised to join the Illinois Broadband Lab at the University of Illinois System as Senior Director for Broadband.

Frontier’s “Good to Go” Ad Campaign Links Fiber to the Future

One of the messages Frontier aims to deliver in its new “Good to Go” ad campaign is that 100 percent fiber infrastructure can support subscribers now and into the future. The campaign was developed by McCann New York. The video illustrates the “changes in human experience over a lifetime” and suggests that a fiber-based broadband can be one of the few constants.

Sen Dick Durbin Visits Dominican, Meets with Student Digital Navigators

Sen Dick Durbin (D-IL) visited Dominican University to discuss the $2.5 million in federal funding the university received through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program that has helped enhance information technology capabilities and close the digital divide for students. Sen Durbin visited one of seven classrooms that, thanks to a portion of the grant proceeds, received technological upgrades to support a hybrid of in-person and remote learning.

Mapping and Spatial Analysis to Expand Rural Broadband Access

High-speed broadband internet access is a critically important issue for many aspects of daily life, yet populations in rural areas are often unserved or underserved with reliable internet connectivity. Expanding broadband internet coverage in rural areas may have significant economic potential, especially since it enables precision farming which in turn increases yields, particularly for row crops such as corn and soybeans.

Illinois’ Digital Equity Plan Accepted

The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has accepted Illinois’ Digital Equity plan. Using $1,515,352.64 from the State Digital Equity Planning Grant Program, Illinois created a plan aimed at addressing disparities in digital access, skills and affordability across the state. NTIA has accepted digital equity plans from all 50 States, D.C., and Puerto Rico. On March 29th, 2024, NTIA launched the $1.44 billion Digital Equity Capacity Grant Program.

A Holistic Vision for Digital Skills in the Heart of the Midwest: How Illinois is Investing its Digital Equity and Broadband Funds

The federal Digital Equity Act and the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program will collectively send more than $1 billion to Illinois, and state officials have been working for more than a year to lay out their roadmap for implementation. The State Digital Equity Plan describes how Illinois officials envision supporting broadband adoption, digital devices, and digital skills, while the BEAD 

End of internet subsidies for low-income households threatens access to telehealth

The importance of high-speed internet was seared into the American psyche by scenes of children sitting in parking lots and outside fast-food restaurants to attend school online during the COVID-19 pandemic. During that same period, health care providers and patients like Cindy Westman say being connected also became a vital part of today’s health care delivery system. Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) participant Westman said her internet connection has become so important to her access to health care she would sell “anything that I own” to stay connected.

Kendall County, Illinois Receives $15 Million for Broadband

A $15 million grant from the Illinois Office of Broadband will make Kendall County’s plan to provide high-speed internet to nearly all residents of the County possible. Kendall County announced that with the grant award, it intends to develop a public-private partnership that will result in more than $40 million in investment in a community-owned broadband network.