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#430 Connect Illinois: Eliminating the Digital Divide through an Equity Lens


Matt Schmit | Director, Illinois Office of Broadband

As part of his historic $45 billion Rebuild Illinois investment strategy, in 2019 Governor Pritzker included $420 million to expand access to high-speed broadband internet across the state. A critical commitment to closing gaps and expanding opportunity, the Connect Illinois program is central to the Governor’s Five-Year Economic Plan to revitalize and grow the Illinois economy with an emphasis on equitable growth.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed pressing digital equity gaps – in limited access to connectivity, computers, and digital skills – placing even greater importance on the Connect Illinois vision and on eliminating the digital divide.

As the largest state broadband matching grant program ever, Connect Illinois seeks to achieve what no other state or federal approach has accomplished: ubiquitous broadband access throughout the state. In order to help Illinoisans both access and use broadband, Connect Illinois will promote digital equity and inclusion while leveraging fully scalable, affordable broadband to drive economic development, increase quality of life, and stay connected.

ASL This event will not have an American Sign Language interpreter.