News from the ITA

February 6, 2020


Gov. Pritzker Announces Start to Connect Illinois Broadband Grant Program

Governor JB Pritzker announced Wednesday that the state would release $50 million in the first round of matching grants from the state's $400 million broadband grant program. The General Assembly approved funding for the Connect Illinois broadband grant program as part of the capital infrastructure program they approved last year.

The Notice of Funding Opportunity was also issued yesterday. Applicants are required to provide at least 50% of non-state funding and 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. 

“We’re beginning to deliver on an ambitious four-year plan to deliver broadband to homes, businesses and community institutions like hospitals and libraries in every corner of the state,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “I want to be clear: This isn’t about a person’s ability to check Facebook. This is about a small business owner having the tools she needs to reach new customers. This is about an elderly couple’s ability to get access to medical experts anywhere in the nation even if they live in a rural community. This is about giving children the ability to research their homework assignments online. In short, this is about the right of all our communities to access health care, education, and economic opportunity.”

The state has established an Office of Broadband Development within the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and Governor Pritzker appointed Matt Schmit, one of the architects of a similar broadband grant program in Minnesota, as the state's Director of Broadband. The Broadband Advisory Council, which includes five members representing ITA member companies provided input for the development of the Connect Illinois grant program along with additional support and input from other broadband stakeholders serving on working groups.

Governor Pritzker also released the Connect Illinois Broadband Strategic Plan. Connect Illinois is centered around three main outcomes: education, telehealth and economic development. It aims to provide universal access to basic broadband for homes, businesses, and community anchor institutions by 2024. 

USAC hosting webinar on Lifeline Representative Accountability Database

USAC is hosting a webinar next Wednesday, Feb. 12 from 2:00 - 3:00 pm CST on the Lifeline Order.  Information about the webinar and registration details from USAC can be found below. USAC is devoting special attention to implementing the Representative Accountability Database (RAD) requirements in the new Lifeline Order.

The RAD is effective on March 26.  All Lifeline providers will need to comply with the new requirement to register employees in the RAD before they can process Lifeline subscribers. 

Webinar Agenda from USAC:

Join us for a review of the Fifth Report and Order and the Representative Accountability Database (RAD) Wednesday, February 12 from 3 - 4 p.m. ET. Register Here

During the webinar, you will be able to ask questions and participate in a dialogue with USAC and service providers throughout the industry.

During this training, the Lifeline Program staff will discuss:

  • Announcements (the new Order)
  • About RAD
  • Timeline
  • Registration
  • Link Accounts
  • FAQs
  • Resources

Who Should Attend?

This session is designed for service providers in all states and territories.

Submitting Questions

If we don't have time to answer your question during the live event, please submit your question via email, and we will assist you after the webinar.

Visit the Lifeline Program: Webinars page to find the webinar recording for each event.

Telecom Headlines

State to release first $50 million of broadband expansion funding in Illinois (The Southern Illinoisan)

State to release $50M in grants to expand broadband (State Journal-Register) 

2 FCC commissioners slam FCC broadband maps as basis for RDOF (FierceWireless)

Report: Flawed FCC broadband availability data could leave 20.7 million people unserved (telecompetitor)

FCC's Pai proposes higher power and antennas for TV white spaces broadband (telecompetitor) 


FCC's $9 billion rural 5G fund now official (telecompetitor)






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Illinois Telecommunications Association

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