Illinois

Speed Matters' partner One Economy was awarded $28.5 million in grant money to expand high-speed Internet in underserved communities in the latest round of NITA's Broadband Opportunity funding.
A new piece of legislation has the potential to shut down a $600 million corporate tax windfall in the Verizon-Frontier deal, and protect consumers, workers, and communities.
Between December 22 and December 31, The Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced an additional twenty broadband mapping and planning grants in eighteen states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The state of Illinois has released its plan to award supplementary grants to state projects looking for a piece of the federal broadband initiative money. But those wanting to apply don't have much time: the deadline is August 5th. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity has $50 million available for state broadband projects that are approved and created under the standards of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA). The state's program aims to work hand-in-hand with the federal program. And in order to receive state grants, a project must be approved by the federal government.
A recent poll conducted as a partnership between the University of Iowa and the University of Illinois-Chicago shows that 40% of Chicago residents have little to no Internet access. The city is mired in a digital divide comparable to the rural-urban divide in broadband use, preventing entire communities from vital financial and educational opportunities. Fortunately, stimulus funds and philanthropic contributions are on the way to rectifying this vast disparity.
The Alliance for Digital Equality launches its Chicago-based initiative on February 4 with a forum on the impact of affordable broadband deployment on the Chicago region.
Recently the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) unanimously passed a resolution for high speed Internet deployment on a national level, calling on the Bush Administration, the U.S. Congress and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to work together to develop a policy that makes high speed Internet access a national priority.
The Speed Matters team is attending the second annual YearlyKos convention in Chicago--and online in Second Life--this weekend. YearlyKos is the premier gathering of progressive activists and the online political community, and we are spreading the word about our efforts to bring affordable high speed internet to all Americans. You can particpate by submitting questions for the presidential candidates who will be attending.
Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois has been conducting novel experiment this week: a series of online discussions to get input from regular Americans on his upcoming universal broadband bill. Jeff Rechenbach, Executive Vice President of the Communications Workers of America, participated in the conversation.