Illinois governor launches $420M broadband expansion initiative

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker unveiled a statewide initiative that aims to invest $420 million to expand broadband internet access in support of telehealth, education and economic development, WGEM, an NBC affiliate, reports.

Twenty-five members will serve on the Broadband Advisory Council, which is part of the $420 million initiative included in the Rebuild Illinois capital plan, according to the report.

"High-speed broadband internet is an absolute necessity for economic progress and educational attainment, but too many of our towns and counties and communities have been left out of the digital revolution, especially downstate," Mr. Pritzker said, according to the report. "Our Broadband Advisory Council will be guided by three areas of focus for Illinois' success in the 21st century: education, telehealth and economic development."

The advisory council will develop a strategic plan for broadband expansion opportunities for all Illinois residents, specifically students, senior, low-income households, rural communities and small businesses. The council is expected to deliver a report for the statewide broadband expansion by Dec. 31, 2019.

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