May 15, 2020 Newsletter

News from the ITA

May 15, 2020


Illinois General Assembly Scheduled for Special Session Next Week

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President Don Harmon issued a joint proclamation Wednesday, May 13 calling a special session beginning next Wednesday May 20. Legislators are expected to be in session Wednesday-Friday next week. The House of Representatives will meet at the Bank of Springfield Convention Center downtown while the Senate will meet in the State Capitol Senate Chamber. Legislators were asked to get tested for COVID-19 prior to traveling to Springfield for legislative session and to take specific precautions amidst the Coronavirus pandemic.

The special session proclamation limits consideration of legislation to the following subject matter:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic or other disasters
  • The State Budget and its implementation
  • Economic recovery, infrastructure projects, and funding thereof
  • The explanation, arguments for and against, and the form for constitutional amendments as required under the Illinois Constitutional Amendment Act
  • Laws or authority scheduled to be repealed prior to June 1, 2021
  • The 2020 General Election and the State Board of Elections
  • The hospital assessment program

We expect the General Assembly will extend the sunset dates for the Telecommunications Act, Video Competition Law and the Emergency Telephone System Act during the special session. Each of the statutes are set to expire December 31, 2020 absent legislative approval authorizing an extension.

Connect Illinois Grant Program Challenge Process Underway

The Illinois Office of Broadband posted new information on the Connect Illinois website that describes how service providers may challenge grant applications based on the level of service provided in the proposed project area. Matt Schmit, Director of the Office of Broadband discussed the challenge process in our online convention webinar this week and said no awards will be made without an opportunity for dialogue on the mapping and service levels in question.

The Broadband Office is referring to the challenge process as “Mapping Review.” Information is available on the Connect Illinois website by clicking the Maps and Data tab under Broadband Grants. Service Providers are encouraged to contact the office of Broadband area about any proposed projects where the company can provide shapefiles and/or specific service location addressees demonstrating service at or above the program speed thresholds of 25/3 Mbps or 100/20 Mbps. 

Instructions are provided on the Mapping Review page for how to initiate a challenge and demonstrate to the Broadband Office that you already provide or have plans to provide service at or above the program speed thresholds of 25/3 or 100/20 respectively.  The Office of Broadband  has asked service providers to submit challenge information by 5:00 p.m. May 22.

Companies may also contact the Office of Broadband about any inaccuracies in the Wireline Service Map regarding the level of service that you already provide even where a grant application has not been submitted. Information should be submitted to [email protected] with the subject heading “Broadband Mapping: [and a brief area description].

The “Mapping Review” begins a conversation between the Office of Broadband and the incumbent provider. Areas under mapping review will be posted on the Connect Illinois website, and applicants will be given an opportunity to respond as well. The grants process is intended to proceed as follows:

  • Application window & deadline
  • 2020 Proposals Map posted
  • Mapping Review: incumbent feedback
  • Mapping Review: applicant feedback
  • Mapping Review: decision
  • Grant Awards

Lifeline RAD Mandatory Effective May 25

Reminder: Lifeline providers are required to register staff who enroll Lifeline subscribers in the Lifeline Representative Accountability Database (RAD), by May 25. More information and RAD reminders can be found here.


2020 ITA Virtual Conference Banner

Don't Miss Out on the ITA Virtually Together Online Convention!

Thanks to all our member companies that are attending our weekly webinars! We have had a great turnout for our first two presentations.

On May 6, Jim Broemmer, CEO of Adams Fiber and Mid-Century Communications, Kim Harber, Sr. VP at Madison Communications and Craig Hern, VP of Operations at Harrisonville Telephone Company discussed the changes they have made in operations and shared their visions for future operations.

On May 13, Matt Schmit, Director of the Office of Broadband, discussed the Connect Illinois Broadband Grant Program and other initiatives in the Illinois Office of Broadband.

Next week, were are excited to have Mike Romano, Senior Vice President of Industry Affairs and Business Development at NTCA, the Rural Broadband Association join us. Mike's update on federal telecom and broadband policy will cover the many twists and turns in Washington over the past few months, including how policymakers have attempted to respond to the COVID crisis and efforts by many federal agencies to stay focused as well on “regular business.”  Key topics will include a recap of recent stimulus legislation, an overview of what can be expected from Congress moving forward, and activity at the FCC, USDA, and other agencies on programs ranging from the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund to ReConnect.

All the events are recorded. If you have missed out so far and want to catch up and participate in the rest of the series, you may register online or contact Randy.

Special Thanks to our Annual Partners for Sponsoring the event! ITA Newsletters

Illinois Telecommunications Association

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