The State of Illinois is launching $50 million in grants to help improve access to high speed internet. Internet service providers, non-profits, local governments, and more can now apply for the grants that Governor J.B. Pritzker announced yesterday at Ridgely Elementary School in Springfield. Pritzker said that broadband would help commerce in the state, tele-health for rural patients, and students to complete homework at home. Lieutenant Governor Julianna Stratton said it would help rural customers utilize their local industry better by helping farmers market products globally and rural residents to have access to streaming services for small businesses.
Applicants are required to provide at least 50% of non-state funding. Grant responses for the initial $50 million round of funding can be submitted through Friday, April 3, 2020. Up to $5 million per project will be available during the first round, and subsequent rounds will follow over the course of the next several years. The Rebuild Illinois capital plan dedicated $420 million toward broadband expansion — $400 million for the grant program and $20 million to strengthen the Illinois Century Network.
The Jacksonville City Council Special Studies Committee is currently working on options to bringing better high speed connectivity to Jacksonville.