WASHINGTON, December 29, 2009 – Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin, D-Ill., last week joined the bandwagon of lawmakers voicing support for the government grants currently being awarded to support broadband deployment and map broadband penetration across the country.
“Broadband is an important economic tool, and too many Illinoisans lack adequate and affordable access” said Durbin in a statement. “This funding will make a significant investment in the effort [to] close the digital divide by increasing availability throughout Illinois while helping create the jobs that will drive our economy for years to come,” he said.
The Department of Commerce has awarded approximately $1,800,000 in state broadband data and development grants to the Partnership for a Connected Illinois through funding Congress allocated earlier this year to increase broadband adoption. The Partnership for a Connected Illinois is a non-governmental organization that is expected to work under the direction of the State of Illinois.
Durbin’s office also said he met with Commerce Secretary Gary Locke to discuss the implementation of his legislation, the Connect the Nation Act, which was signed into law last year to establish the State Broadband Data and Development Grant Program. The program requires grant awardees to contribute at least 20 percent of non-federal matching fund for proposed projects. The program “aims to map existing coverage gaps, broaden access, and facilitate demand through grassroots efforts,” according to Durbin’s office.