National Experts to Convene at Broadband Summit in Carbondale on June 2

America’s ‘Broadband Mayor,’ Graham Richard, to Join Others on Broadband’s Impact on the Economy, Education and Health Care

Local, state and national leaders will convene at the Illinois Broadband Summit on Thursday, June 2 at the Southern Illinois University Student Center. The event is hosted by ConnectSI and the Partnership for a Connected Illinois.

Among the highlights of the day-long program will be remarks by Graham Richard, former mayor of Fort Wayne; Christopher Koch, the Illinois State School Superintendent; Frank Knott, a broadband expert who has worked in Southern Illinois; and broadband stimulus award-winners Clearwave and Shawnee Telephone, both private companies in the region seeking to dramatically increase broadband capacity.

The assembly will discuss progress made in broadband deployment, and explore ways that broadband will enhance economic growth, education, and healthcare in Southern Illinois and the entire state.

“Southern Illinois leaders have worked long and hard to improve our economy by creating new opportunities through broadband deployment,” said Kathy Lively, Executive Director of ConnectSI, a non-profit organization promoting broadband in the region. “The broadband investments that are underway in Southern Illinois provide the promise for our region to succeed in a global economy, enhance our quality of life, and provide opportunities that we cannot even yet imagine.”

“As with the March 7 broadband summit at Northern Illinois University, this event will allow broadband award-winners to help make the case that better broadband will lead to better lives,” said Drew Clark, Executive Director of the Partnership for a Connected Illinois. “Broadband is giving Southern Illinois new opportunities, and we are coming to Southern Illinois University so that ConnectSI and private-sector companies can showcase the strides that they are making.” 

The Illinois Broadband Summit will include two important segments: The Governor’s Broadband Deployment Council session and the Southern Illinois Broadband regional session.

Summit Kicks off at 9 a.m. with Official Meeting of Governor’s Broadband Deployment Council and Illinois State School Superintendent Chris Koch

At 9 a.m., the Council convenes to address the topic: Education, Distance Learning, and Telemedicine Advancements Made Possible through Broadband.


State School Superintendent Christopher Koch, a BDC member, will update the council on State Board of Education plans to prepare school districts for technological advancements to enhance educational opportunities for our children. Superintendent Koch will also help lead a panel discussion on the promise that broadband can bring to our schools.

A presentation will be made by the Illinois Virtual School to highlight educational programs available through distance learning. Regional Superintendents Matt Donkin and Donna Boros will also participate in the program and the panel discussion.

Southern Illinois Broadband Regional Session Kicks Off at 1 p.m.; Broadband Leaders Map Out a Vision of the Future

The afternoon session kicks off with reports developed from a luncheon collaborative involving morning session attendees and attendees.

SIU President Glenn Poshard will jumpstart the afternoon session with welcoming remarks. Poshard has been visionary in his early understanding of the transformative power of broadband – and in supporting efforts like ConnectSI and the Partnership for a Connected Illinois.

National broadband leaders Graham Richard and Frank Knott will share their unique views and updates on how broadband is transforming communities. Richard, former mayor of Ft. Wayne, Indiana, will focus on how Illinois communities can retain and create jobs through broadband. Knott, who was instrumental in creation of ConnectSI and formulating broadband strategies for Southern Illinois, will highlight regional strategies for economic development with broadband.

The afternoon session also serves as a forum for broadband stimulus winners from Southern Illinois to showcase the progress they have been making, and help strengthen ties with the communities they’re serving.

Representatives of Clearwave Communications and Shawnee Telephone Company will discuss the status of their projects and their perspectives of how broadband will transform the future of the region.

The projects were funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Illinois received approximately $244 million in federal broadband funds. Supplemented by state and private matching contributions, about $350 million is currently being invested in the state.

The afternoon session will conclude with a panel discussion consisting of participants and representatives of ConnectSI, and conclude with audience participation and a discussion of future broadband opportunities for the region.

For more information about the event, contact Bob Flider, Director of Broadband Impact for PCI, at 217-280-4066, or; or Kathy Lively, Executive Director of ConnectSI, at 618-998-0970.

About the Partnership for a Connected Illinois

The Partnership for a Connected Illinois, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation in Illinois that collects and publish broadband data, seeks to ensure broadband access throughout the State, and maximizes broadband's impact and use. PCI is funded under the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s State Broadband Initiative; and by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity; and by the private sector.

For Further Information, contact:
Bob Flider – PCI: (217)  280-4066
Kathy Lively – ConnectSI: (618) 998-0970

The Illinois Broadband Summit is open to the public. The entire day's event will be streamed live on the internet. Those members of public wishing to attend the morning-only BDC meeting also have the option of attending the meeting at interactive, remote-viewing locations in Springfield and Chicago. Pre-registration is encouraged due to limited seating. For more information, and to register, please visit the Broadband Illinois website at:

Tags: Broadband Deployment Council, Broadband Illinois Summit, ConnectSI, Drew Clark, Illinois Broadband, Southern Illinois University

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Partnership for a Connected Illinois 1337 Wabash Ave. Springfield, IL 62704 Phone: (217) 886-4228 Fax: (217) 718-4546