Durbin Announces Nearly $12 Million in Recovery Act Funding for DeKalb Broadband Internet

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) today announced that the Department of Commerce (DOC) has awarded $11,864,164 to DeKalb County through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to improve access to broadband internet through the DeKalb Advancement of Technology Authority. The funding will be used to deploy a 130-mile high-speed, low-cost fiber-optic broadband network across DeKalb County and northern LaSalle County.


“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 while helping create the jobs that will drive our economy for years to come.”


Widespread access to broadband enables local businesses to expand, promotes job development, allows for more efficient public services, and supports cutting-edge educational opportunities. Durbin has led the fight in the Senate to provide funding for expanded access to broadband. Durbin helped secure $350 million in funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for grants to develop and implement statewide initiatives that help identify and track broadband services in states throughout the country.


The DeKalb Advancement of Technology Authority (DATA) is a public-private partnership between the DeKalb County Government, Northern Illinois University, and DeKalb Fiber Optic. DATA intends to provide high-speed connections reaching speeds up to 10-gigabits per second to at least 60 anchor institutions such as schools, hospitals, and libraries. The anchors will be used to provide backbone infrastructure for emergency services and disaster recovery. Additionally, DATA plans to enable local broadband providers to connect with the open network in order to better serve up to 34,000 households and 3,600 businesses in unserved and underserved communities.