The goal of the Digital Divide Grant Program is to increase access to computers, telecommunications technologies, and related training for populations residing in low-income communities. Under this program, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is authorized to make grants to plan, establish, administer, and expand Community Technology Centers (CTCs) and to support technology access programs. CTC programs provide computer access and educational services using information technology to individuals, communities, and populations that typically would not otherwise have opportunities to use computer and telecommunications technologies.
Governor Pat Quinn is launching a competition that will award up to $4,000,000 in prize funding to the most promising ultra high-speed broadband deployment projects in Illinois as part of the comprehensive, multi-year Illinois Jobs Now! economic development program.
Open to any private or public organization, the contest will result in seed funding awards to build or expand world-class broadband networks in Illinois. Each proposal should outline a viable plan to connect at least 1,000 end users to an ultra high-speed broadband network.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced today the launch of the Chicago Broadband Challenge, a unique initiative that will engage the public to secure Chicago’s position as one of the digital capitals of the country and the city with the greatest availability of ultra-high-speed broadband in the United States. Starting this month, Millennium Park began offering free wireless internet to the public, and as part of the initiative the Broadband Challenge all parks and open spaces in Chicago will eventually offer free internet.
“Chicago will be one of the most connected cities in the world,” said Mayor Emanuel. “The establishment of a world-class broadband network in Chicago will create thousands of jobs and dramatically improve educational opportunities, economic development, health care services, and general quality of life throughout the city. We will rely on the ideas and efforts of Chicagoans to not only build this network, but make sure it is customized for our residents and our workforce.”