Connect Illinois Announces Round 2 of Broadband Expansion Grants

26 Oct 2020

Focus on Broadband Infrastructure


Connect Illinois Announces Round 2 of Broadband Expansion Grants

On October 19, Governor J.B. Pritzker announced that Illinois is releasing $50 million in funding for the second round of matching grants through Connect Illinois, the state's $420 million statewide broadband expansion plan.


Grants are available for projects that: 

  • expand access to broadband services,
  • drive innovation in areas such as telehealth,
  • boost connectivity in urban areas, and
  • improve equity in broadband access in disadvantaged communities. 


To be eligible for grants in the first three categories, applicants must put up at least 50 percent of the cost in the form of non-state matching funds. But for projects to improve equity in disadvantaged communities, Gov. Pritzkers said, the state is relaxing that matching requirement. 


Grants are available in amounts up to $5 million per project. The State will announce subsequent rounds over the next several years.



Governor J.B. Pritzker, left

Madison Communications Senior VP Kim Harber, center

State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), right


"The lack of reliable access to quality internet service affects every facet of life in Downstate Illinois, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only widened the existing gap between us and the rest of the state," said State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill). "We continue to prioritize broadband expansion in the state budget because it is the starting point for effective remote learning, dependable telehealth care services, and growing small businesses to revitalize the downstate economy. I want to thank Governor Pritzker for his steadfast partnership in continuing to push this important issue in Springfield."


On October 23, Illinois Office of Broadband Director Matt Schmit led a webinar covering the notice of funding opportunity and supplemental information about the next round of grants.


The application period is open through March 1, 2021. More information about applying for the grants is available at DCEO's Notice of Funding Opportunity.