URBANA – The Illinois Broadband Lab, a collaboration between the Illinois Office of Broadband and University of Illinois System, invites residents and local organizations in west central Illinois to in-person listening sessions in Macomb on Wednesday, May 3. 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 West Central Illinois Broadband Regional Engagement for Adoption + Digital Equity (READY) team led by Western Illinois University is partnering with the Illinois Broadband Lab to host the following events for the west central Illinois region:

  • Listening sessions with residents, non-profits and community organizations
    • May 3 – 12-1 p.m. – Macomb City Hall Community Room, 232 East Jackson St., Macomb, IL 61455
    • May 3 – 6-7 p.m. – Macomb City Hall Community Room, 232 East Jackson St., Macomb, IL 61455

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.