New Program Aims to Improve Quality of Life Through Internet Usage

 

“Illinois Broadband Innovation Fund” will award up to $500,000 for internet adoption programs

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois, August 16, 2012 -Job creation, educational opportunities for low-income citizens, and improved public safety are among the goals of an innovative high-speed internet adoption program announced today by Broadband Illinois.
 
The Illinois Broadband Innovation Fund will award up to $500,000 to private, public and nonprofit organizations that submit creative plans to increase computer usage and internet adoption across the state.  While high-speed internet services of some sort are available to 99 percent of Illinoisans, only 63 percent have incorporated broadband technology into their lives. These citizens are being left behind and are missing out on job opportunities, education, healthcare benefits, and government services.
 
The Broadband Innovation Fund aims to close this gap, ensuring that our citizens have the high-speed resources and training needed to succeed in the 21st Century.  Earlier this year, Governor Pat Quinn’s Illinois Gigabit Challenge promoted broadband deployment and infrastructure as a tool for economic development with more than 40 applications received. Now, the Broadband Innovation fund aims to stimulate proposals for broadband adoption and usage initiatives.
 
“The Broadband Innovation Fund targets broadband adoption solutions for every sector,” said Drew Clark, Executive Director of Broadband Illinois. “High-speed internet unleashes the savvy of our entrepreneurs, the brainpower of our academics, and the creativity of our innovators. We’re excited to work with organizations that will develop innovative programs promoting Better Broadband and Better Lives.”
 
Open to any private, public, or non-profit organization, applicants may request $10,000 to $100,000 for internet adoption projects that will stimulate job creation, education, agriculture, healthcare, public safety, energy conservation or eGovernment. Higher-capacity broadband creates opportunity, and the following applications are just a few examples of projects the Broadband Innovation Fund may entertain (more models are detailed in the request for proposals):

·      Efforts to connect health-care professionals with their patients in a particular Illinois region.
·      Programs designed to spur greater use of telework or telecommuting, saving on fuel costs.
·      Smart grid applications designed to improve reliability and promote energy saving.
·      Training high-school students to think entrepreneurially and use technology for growth.
·      “AgEd,” or the ability to connect university agriculture knowledge to local farmer needs.
 
Applicants are encouraged to submit creative proposals that demonstrate support from private and public organizations in the community served and should show how the project best stimulates use of broadband networks.
 
The deadline to apply to the Broadband Innovation Fund is 5 p.m. CST on Tuesday, September 11, 2012. 
 
In an effort to promote the new program statewide, Broadband Illinois is embarking on the “Illinois Broadband Innovation Tour,” a cycle of webinars, stakeholder meetings, and question and answer sessions.
 
The tour began today with a kick-off webinar at the Illinois State Library in Springfield. A second kick-off webinar is also scheduled at noon tomorrow, Friday, August 17. Those in the region are encouraged to attend in person and a question and answer session will follow.  To register for Friday’s session, visit  http://broadbandillinois.org/calendar/162.
 
The complete Broadband Innovation Fund Tour Schedule follows (for full event descriptions, logistics and registration information, visit http://www.broadbandillinois.org/innovation):
  • Thursday, August 16 in Springfield
  • Friday, August 17 in Springfield
  • Wednesday, August 22 in Chicago
  • Thursday, August 23 in Mattoon
  • Friday, August 24 in Carbondale
  • Monday, August 27 in Moline
  • Tuesday, August 28 in Godfrey
  • Wednesday, August 29 in Peoria
  • Thursday, August 30 in Macomb
To download a PDF copy of the Broadband Innovation Fund’s request for proposals and application, click here.  
 
To keep up with program news and announcements, visit http://www.broadbandIllinois.org/innovation.
 
Contact Anne Madonia Hubbard, Program Manager at innovation@broadbandillinois.org or 217-645-6079 with questions regarding the Broadband Innovation Fund. 
 
Contact Roxana Ryan, Communication Specialist, at roxana@broadbandillinois.org with media or press inquires.
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Tags: broadband innovation fund, DCEO, grant, Grant applications, IBIT, internet adoption, Internet usage, press release, request for proposals, small business administration

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