To mend technical inequities in rural areas of the Riverbend, state Sen. Rachelle Crowe (D-Glen Carbon) is urging Metro East organizations to apply for $50 million in available funding through the second round of the Connect Illinois broadband expansion program.
“To ensure small businesses are able to compete and residents are able to connect at work and school, access to reliable, high-speed internet is critical,” Crowe said. “Communities must have the resources to support local digital demands, and applying for this grant is a simple way to expand broadband opportunities to those living in rural areas.”
The second round of Connect Illinois grants will allow for up to $5 million per project and calls for a matching component, which requires companies to dedicate funding that will accelerate the delivery of broadband investments. Internet service providers, rural cooperatives, nonprofits and local governments are eligible to apply.
Funding for the Connect Illinois program is made possible through Rebuild Illinois, the state’s historic, bipartisan $45 billion statewide construction program, which has dedicated $420 million to broadband infrastructure.
The application will remain open through February 2021. More information on this grant program can be found on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s website.