Created in September 2019, the Office of Broadband is housed within the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. As a primary charge, the office is responsible for administering the Connect Illinois broadband infrastructure grant program. In addition, the office will develop and administer related programming – such as in the areas of community planning and capacity building and digital literacy, adoption, and inclusion.
Beyond the administration of grants and programming, the office will work with one or more third-party vendors to develop state-specific mapping of broadband assets, including available technology and levels of service. Recognizing the limitation of current mapping offered by the FCC, this effort will leverage otherwise proprietary broadband provider data – and direct consumer feedback – to generate interactive mapping detailing various technology and levels of service available to communities and consumers throughout Illinois. Among other attributes, the mapping will enable analysis of various layers, such as by county, legislative district, or deployment year.
Finally, the office will serve as a one-stop shop for all things broadband. From infrastructure to utilization, public funding to private deployment, the office will strive to be a useful resource to individual consumers, local communities, various state agencies, and broadband providers alike. Just as broadband connects seemingly distinct aspects of our lives or otherwise siloed areas of government, the office of broadband seeks to make meaningful connections – including through thoughtful public-private partnership, innovative cross-sector collaboration, and increased efficiency within state agency and across all levels of government.