Illinois Broadband Advisory Council

Illinois Broadband Advisory Council

To inform and advise the Connect Illinois program, the Governor-appointed Illinois Broadband Advisory Council convened in August 2019. The 25-member council includes representation from various internet service providers, state agency officials and legislators, and certain broadband-related stakeholders.

Five working groups formed to discuss key issues and to identify various opportunities and barriers related to broadband infrastructure and utilization. The working groups included: access; economic development; education; infrastructure and technology; and telehealth.

Access. The working group on access explored barriers and opportunities for improved collaboration between broadband providers and private land owners and public facilities. Through careful communication and coordination, Connect Illinois deployments will seek to leverage shared stakeholder interests to improve access to public facilities and private assets, such as agricultural land, railroad crossings, and utility poles, wherever possible.

Economic development. The working group on economic development examined how to leverage the convergence of improved bandwidth, innovative applications, and useful metrics to promote and measure the impact of new broadband investment and related opportunities. It found that broadband is increasingly necessary for business attraction and growth in the economy of today – and tomorrow. For instance, broadband was found to reduce transaction costs and improve access to online resources, boosting sales and reducing input costs. In addition, multiple studies suggest that rural broadband is positively associated with: GDP growth; median household incomes; farm revenues; and non-farm rural business growth – with faster broadband having greater impact.

Residential broadband is also an important business attraction tool, providing quality of life for workers and local customers – and the capacity for telework, flex schedules, or home-based business start-ups that could grow to produce new jobs or future property tax base.

The state’s recently-released five-year economic plan highlights six primary sectors for driving growth: agriculture; energy; healthcare; information technology; manufacturing and transportation. This plan committed the Pritzker Administration to investing to grow these sectors while prioritizing fair and equitable growth, supporting small businesses, and strengthening the Illinois workforce. High quality broadband infrastructure, along with increased adoption and digital rates, is foundational to this strategy. With regard to the rural economy, companies with high transaction costs or high labor intensity – such as financial services, wholesale trade, health, or tourism – stand to benefit the most from better broadband.

Education. The working group on education considered the barriers and opportunities at the intersection of broadband and education. While the federal e-rate program and state investment in the Illinois Century Network have produced clear successes, continued progress is needed to ensure that all students have access to the level of broadband they need – both inside the classroom and out – for such uses as interactive and multimedia curriculum, flip schedules, and distance learning.

Infrastructure and technology. The working group on infrastructure and technology focused on identifying elements of a successful broadband grant program, such as the need for mapping, matching funds, clear funding criteria, and a balanced challenge process to ensure accurate mapping and fair grant administration.

Telehealth. The working group on telehealth identified barriers and opportunities related to expanded health care service and technology enabled by broadband connectivity, including the need for clear regulation of and reimbursement for telehealth services, related equipment for telehealth services and facilities, and the bandwidth necessary for real-time interaction between patient and heath care professional.

​Powers and Duties

  • Explore all ways to expand broadband availability to end-user customers, including in areas of income, business, education, health and aging in place
  • Explore ways to encourage state and municipal expansion of new broadband services
  • Explore, cooperate and assist with increased educational, career, workforce preparation including expansion of electronic and distance educational services
  • Identify service barriers to residents and small businesses
  • Research ways to eliminate adoption barriers
  • Publish FCC data rates in the Illinois register within 60 days of release
  • Promote awareness and new deployment of public web portals, including audio and video streaming of all public meetings
  • Monitor other states broadband progress
  • Serve as broadband advocate for all state entities
  • Receive input from all Illinois broadband stakeholders and advise GO on remedying service to underserved areas
  • Report to the General Assembly on or before Jan 1st on action taken by the Council in implementing provisions set forth by the Act

Meeting Dates

  • Regular Meeting: Monday, August 19, 2019 at 11:00am

    Illinois Department of Agriculture
    801 E Sangamon Avenue
    Springfield Illinois


    Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
    100 W Randolph, Suite 3-400
    Chicago Illinois

  • Special Meeting: October 1st
  • Special Meeting: October 21st
  • Regular Meeting: Monday, November 18, 2019
  • Regular Meeting: Wednesday, February 19, 2020
  • Regular Meeting: Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Broadband Advisory Council Members

BAC Member Organization
Deno PeridouAT&T
Melia CarterVerizon
Chris NelsonComcast
Rick HolzmacherIllinois Rural Broadband Association
Zak HornMetro Communications
Steven HillSatellite Broadcasting and Communications Association
Karen BoswellFrontier 
Josh ShallenbergerCEO of Shelby Electric Coop
Mike ChamberlainIllinois Municipal League/Mayor of Belvidere
Anne SlaughterIllinois Library Association
Deb AlfredsonIllinois Association of Housing Authorities
Jeff NewellIllinois Community College Board
David AntonacciIllinois Board of Higher Education
Bill BodineIllinois Farm Bureau
Ryan GruenenfelderAARP
Nikki BudzinskiDepartment of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
Lori Sorenson  Department of Innovation and Technology
Paula BastaDepartment of Aging 
Susan SatterIllinois Attorney General
Jim ZolnierikIllinois Commerce Commission
Theresa EaglesonIllinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services
Sen. Bill Cunningham-DIllinois Senate
Sen. Jil Tracy-RIllinois Senate
Rep. John Connor-DIllinois House of Representatives
Rep. Keith Wheeler-RIllinois House of Representatives