Durbin, Duckworth Announce $1 Billion in Federal Funding for Affordable, Reliable High-Speed Internet Infrastructure in Illinois

The funding marks the largest-ever federal push to help an estimated 8.5 million families and businesses nationwide

CHICAGO – U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today announced that Illinois will receive $1,040,420,751 in federal funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act’s Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program.  This funding will help to deploy affordable, reliable high-speed internet infrastructure to help close the digital divide across Illinois.  Today’s announcement is part of more than $42 billion announced nationwide to expand high-speed internet access—a federal push to help an estimated 8.5 million families and small businesses take advantage of modern-day connectivity. 

“The pandemic exacerbated the digital divide in urban and rural communities across Illinois and the entire nation.  Investing in reliable, high-speed internet equips our residents and businesses with the tools needed to succeed in today’s economy while improving their overall quality of life,” said Durbin.  “Today’s historic funding announcement is an investment in the effort to close the digital divide.” 

“Throughout the pandemic we saw that reliable electricity and internet access is crucial for public health, the success of small businesses, educating our children and improving quality of life,” said Duckworth. “Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the hard work of Democrats in Congress and the Biden administration’s laser focus on helping build an economy for the middle class that helps raise working families up, this significant federal support will help countless Illinoisans afford and access high-speed broadband infrastructure. I’ll always keep working to support policies that help ensure every single Illinoisan has access to reliable broadband.” 

In addition to helping connect Americans to reliable, high-speed internet, this new funding will support good paying jobs deploying fiber and by using materials Made in America.  In total, a third-party analysis estimates the overall investment will create upwards of 150,000 good-paying jobs nationwide laying fiber optic cable and building out networks.

In December, Durbin and Duckworth joined the White House and the U.S. Department of the Treasury to announcethe approval of broadband projects in Illinois under the American Rescue Plan’s Capital Projects Fund, which aims to make affordable and reliable high-speed internet accessible to all Americans.  Illinois received $253.7 million for broadband infrastructure, which is estimated to connect 87,163 households and businesses to the internet.