Illinois BEAD Map Challenge & Webinars

The Illinois Broadband Lab and Illinois Office of Broadband are taking the next steps toward deploying $1.04 billion in federal Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program funds to accelerate our efforts to connect all homes and businesses to modern high-speed internet.

The BEAD Program requires states to allow local governments, nonprofit organizations and internet service providers to challenge the accuracy of the FCC broadband map’s designation of unserved and underserved locations. An accurate map ensures federal funds go where they are needed most.

Illinois is planning to launch its map challenge in January 2024, pending final NTIA approval.

Eligible entities can sign up now to participate in the upcoming challenge process by filling out this simple pre-registration webform.

IBL will be hosting a series of webinars in December to help pre-registered and interested eligible entities prepare for the challenge.

Register here for the Illinois BEAD Challenge Process webinars.

  • Tuesday, Dec. 5, 1:00-2:00pm – Introductory BEAD funding overview for nonprofits and community based organizations (CBOs), including:
    • BEAD funding priorities and timeline
    • Illinois BEAD map challenge process overview
    • How nonprofits and CBOs can participate
  • Tuesday, Dec. 12, 1:00-2:00pm– BEAD Challenge Process preparations for eligible entities, including:
    • Pre-registration
    • Types of challenges and related evidence required
    • Understanding and using FCC Fabric or the Illinois BEAD Challenge Map
    • Speed test data collection
    • Best practices for documenting and aggregating challenges
  • Tuesday, Dec. 19, 1:00-2:00pm  – Deeper treatment of Dec. 12 session information

Additional webinars will be scheduled for early January to cover how to submit challenges to the Illinois portal before the process formally opens. Exact challenge period dates are dependent on the timing of federal approval.

To learn more about Illinois’ plans for leveraging new federal broadband funds, please review the Connect Illinois Five-Year Action Plan.

To learn more about Illinois’ proposed challenge process, which is currently pending federal approval, please review Volume I of Illinois’ Initial Proposal.