The Illinois Broadband Lab invites non-profits, local governments, internet service providers, and individuals to challenge the state broadband map by March 18, 2024, informing how $1B+ in federal broadband funds will be allocated across the state.

FEBRUARY 27, 2024 – The Illinois Broadband Lab (IBL), a collaboration between the Illinois Office of Broadband and University of Illinois System, announced the start of the Broadband Map Challenge Process. The Challenge Process provides an opportunity for Illinoisans to help ensure the state’s broadband availability map is accurate, which will inform how federal Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program funds will be allocated across the state.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) awarded Illinois $1.04 billion in BEAD Program funds through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to connect all unserved and underserved locations to quality, affordable broadband over the next five years.

The Challenge Process includes three distinct phases. Beginning with the Challenge Phase, eligible challengers – including non-profits, units of local government, and internet service providers – can review the broadband map at and submit “challenges” through an online portal.

Individuals can also participate in the Challenge Phase by completing three internet speed tests over three days at Speed tests completed anytime between December 20, 2023 and March 18, 2024 will be accepted. Non-profits and local governments looking to raise awareness about this opportunity among their communities can download and share social media materials and flyers.

Following the Challenge Phase, the Illinois Broadband Lab will review, verify, and post submissions to the BEAD Challenge Map. Any personally identifiable or proprietary information will be kept confidential. Then, in the Rebuttal Phase, participating internet service providers, local governments, and non-profits will have the opportunity to submit a challenge rebuttal with evidence.

The Challenge Process ends with the Adjudication Phase, where the State rules on all challenges and publishes a final map, subject to federal approval. This map solidifies the classification of each location in Illinois as unserved, underserved, or served by broadband, informing how infrastructure projects are prioritized for funding.

The launch of the Challenge Process is the latest opportunity for Illinoisans to shape the best use of historic federal broadband deployment and digital equity funding. It follows the Illinois Broadband Lab’s 55-stop resident listening tour in 2023, which engaged more than 1,250 Illinoisans and shaped important aspects of Illinois’ draft State Digital Equity Plan. Federal approval of this plan will unlock an estimated $30-35 million in federal funds for building digital skills and local capacity statewide.

To learn more about the Challenge Process, visit, review the Illinois BEAD Challenge User Guide, or reach out to