WASHINGTON, July 31, 2009 — Illinois has unveiled a plan to provide supplemental grants for state projects applying for the first round of federal broadband initiative money.
Anyone wishing to grab stimulus funding, however, must hurry. Applications are due August 5. Awardees will be notified of their status on August 11—just in time to submit their applications to the federal government by August 14.
The state’s Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, which announced the program earlier this year, will have $50 million in state funding for successfully approved broadband projects created under the federal American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.
This program shares the same goals as the federal broadband stimulus grants: building out infrastructure, promoting its use, and strengthening existing networks for telemedicine, public health and safety and education.
“Broadband technology improves jobs, education, health care and public safety in our communities,” said Gov. Pat Quinn, on broadband.illinois.gov, the Web site set up to inform potential applicants. “We have a rare chance, thanks to ARRA’s $7.2 billion in competitive broadband grants and loans, to ensure every rural, underserved and unserved community in our state is connected to world-class information and communication infrastructure.”
Because of Illinois’s Jobs Now! plan, signed into law earlier this month, this initiative will allow applicants who are applying for federal funding to submit grant requests to the state.
In addition to the Rural Utilities Service’s Broadband Initiative Program and the National Telecommunications Information Administration’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program, the Illinois broadband grants can be used to supplement up to 10 percent, for a total of up to $5 million, of an applicant’s project.
Grants, however, are conditional. The federal government must approve the application for the federal money before the applicants can receive state funding.
The application and a frequently asked questions section are available at broadband.illinois.gov.