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
- Regular Meeting: Monday, August 19, 2019 at 11:00am
Illinois Department of Agriculture
801 E Sangamon Avenue
Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
100 W Randolph, Suite 3-400
- 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
Meeting Agendas, Minutes and Presentations
Broadband Advisory Council Members
|Rick Holzmacher||Illinois Rural Broadband Association|
|Zak Horn||Metro Communications|
|Steven Hill||Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association|
|Karen Boswell||Frontier |
|Josh Shallenberger||CEO of Shelby Electric Coop|
|Mike Chamberlain||Illinois Municipal League/Mayor of Belvidere|
|Anne Slaughter||Illinois Library Association|
|Deb Alfredson||Illinois Association of Housing Authorities|
|Jeff Newell||Illinois Community College Board|
|David Antonacci||Illinois Board of Higher Education|
|Bill Bodine||Illinois Farm Bureau|
|Nikki Budzinski||Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity|
|Lori Sorenson ||Department of Innovation and Technology|
|Paula Basta||Department of Aging |
|Susan Satter||Illinois Attorney General|
|Jim Zolnierik||Illinois Commerce Commission|
|Theresa Eagleson||Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services|
|Sen. Bill Cunningham-D||Illinois Senate|
|Sen. Jil Tracy-R||Illinois Senate|
|Rep. John Connor-D||Illinois House of Representatives|
|Rep. Keith Wheeler-R||Illinois House of Representatives|