Governor JB Pritzker has launched a statewide strategic initiative to guide broadband expansion by naming 25 members to the Broadband Advisory Council, reported WGEM-TV. The state is making a $420 million investment in broadband infrastructure via the Rebuild Illinois capital campaign, and the Broadband Advisory Council will create a plan to move it forward.
“Rebuild Illinois will improve our infrastructure at a historic scale, and it lays the foundation for economic progress and educational success for decades to come,” said Pritzker. “Too many of our towns and counties and communities have been left out of the digital revolution, especially downstate.”
According to Pritzker, the Broadband Advisory Council will be guided by three areas of focus for Illinois’ success in the 21st century: education, telehealth, and economic development. “By working together, we’re going to Connect Illinois,” Pritzker added.
Broadband is anticipated to help the areas of focus by increasing access to telehealth across the state and expanding treatment opportunities; ensuring students have the tools they need to succeed in the classroom; expanding economic development and opportunity in urban and rural areas, supporting the agriculture economy, information technology sector, modernizing transportation, plus supporting entrepreneurs and small business owners.
The Broadband Advisory Council will create and present a statewide broadband strategic plan based on the focus areas by December 31. The project will include partnering with internet service providers to build 21st-century infrastructure connecting communities across the state to high-speed internet, according to WGEM.
August 19, 2019