URBANA – The Illinois Broadband Lab, a collaboration between the Illinois Office of Broadband and University of Illinois System, invites residents and local organizations in central Illinois to in-person listening sessions in Decatur on Tuesday, April 25, and Springfield on Wednesday, April 26. The events will give the public a forum for asking questions and providing input about the region’s most urgent needs and priorities related to high-speed internet connectivity and access.

The Central Illinois Broadband Regional Engagement for Adoption + Digital Equity (READY) team led by the University of Illinois Springfield is partnering with the Illinois Broadband Lab to host the following events for the central Illinois region:

  • Listening session with local organizations and non-profits
    • April 26 – 3-4 p.m. – Innovate Springfield, 15 S. Old State Capitol Plaza, Springfield, IL 62701 – Register
  • Listening sessions with residents 
    • April 25 – 5-6 p.m. – Macon County Extension Office Illini Room, 3351 N. President Howard Brown Blvd., Decatur, IL 62521 (parking available on either side of the building) – Register
    • April 26 – 6-7 p.m. – Lincoln Library Carnegie Room North, 326 S. 7thSt., Springfield, IL 62701 (parking available in garage below Lincoln Library) – Register

The community outreach events are one way that Illinois residents can contribute to the state’s plan to invest federal funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act’s Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) and Digital Equity (DE) programs.

To ensure that federal BEAD and digital equity funding addresses demonstrated barriers and needs – for instance, the 285,000-plus Illinois households without physical access to basic internet service and the over 1.1 million Illinois residents without the devices and skills to use the internet – the Illinois Broadband Lab will work with a wide range of community organizations, local governments, and broadband stakeholders to gather critical input.