Durbin Announces More Than $1.1 Million In Recovery Act Funding For Illinois Broadband Internet

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) today announced that the Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded three grants totaling $1,130,367 through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to bring “4G” wireless broadband infrastructure to three Illinois communities – Cairo, Monmouth, and White Hall.


“Broadband is an important economic tool, and too many Illinoisans lack adequate and affordable access” said Durbin. “This funding will make a significant investment in the effort to close the digital divide by increasing availability in Illinois while helping create the jobs that will drive our economy for years to come.”


This funding was awarded to Utopian Wireless Corporation, which operates nationally, to provide broadband access to underserved households and businesses and provide discounted services to community institutions such as libraries and police departments in the communities in and around Cairo, Monmouth, and White Hall, Illinois. Utopian Wireless expects the infrastructure development to benefit approximately 17,000 residents, 527 businesses, and nearly 175 community institutions while helping drive economic development and stimulate investment in throughout rural Illinois.


Durbin has long advocated for increased access to broadband internet throughout rural America. His Connect the Nation Act – which became law in 2008 – created the State Broadband Data and Development Grant Program, a matching grant program that aims to map existing coverage gaps, broaden access, and facilitate demand through grassroots efforts. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act included $7.2 billion for the USDA and the Department of Commerce to implement the Connect the Nation Act and other broadband access expansion projects.