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 has developed 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 has forged strategic partnerships throughout Illinois – and beyond. These partners include:
Benton Institute for Broadband & Society, Illinois Innovation Network, and University of Illinois Extension Services; and
National Digital Inclusion Alliance and PCs for People. In addition, the office works closely with other state agencies, such as the Department of Innovation & Technology, the Department of Transportation, and the State Board of Education.
Finally, the office serves as a one-stop shop for all things broadband. From infrastructure to utilization, public funding to private deployment, the office strives 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.
Since launching in September 2019, the Illinois Office of Broadband has built a team that leverages strong leadership experience from the private and public sectors, as well as various levels of government. Our team includes:
- Matt Schmit | Director
- Tim Laffey | Grants Manager
- Katie Stonewater | Senior Policy Advisor
- Sandeep Taxali | Consultant