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Illinois grants to help expand broadband, digital access

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SPRINGFIELD — A new state grant program will provide communities with money and expertise to expand broadband capacity and improve digital access as more people work, shop and go to school online during the coronavirus pandemic.

The $150,000 Illinois Connected Communities grant program will provide grants of up to $15,000, on a competitive basis.

"Without a question, there's never been a more important time to improve digital access in our state," said Erin Guthrie, director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, which is administering the program. Guthrie said expanded digital access will improve people's lives and "play a major role in jump starting our economy."

The program is part of a partnership between the Illinois Office of Broadband and the Evanston-based Benton Institute for Broadband and Society. The money may be used for community planning and capacity building, and experts from the Benton Institute will provide consultations and best practices for grantees.

The application deadline is June 12.

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