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Stadelman announces state broadband investment in Rockford area

Senator StadelmanROCKFORD – Rockford and Winnebago County will receive state and private funding to expand broadband internet to underserved residents as part of the state’s Illinois Connected Communities Grant Program. State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford), who helped create the program, was pleased to see Rockford benefit from the first round of grants.

“One thing we’ve all learned during the pandemic is that access to broadband internet is a necessity,” Stadelman said. “Without reliable internet access, children can’t participate in e-learning, you can’t work from home, and you can’t easily access important services provided by the government and private companies.”

The program is directing $150,000 in small grants to 12 community and local government partners to develop plans to ensure access to high-speed broadband in their communities. The state grants will be paired with $150,000 in philanthropic matching funds. Together, these investments will help lay the groundwork for Connect Illinois, a $400 million broadband expansion program authorized by the General Assembly. Stadelman supported House Bill 62, which created the broadband program.

The Region 1 Planning Council, which is a regional government agency representing Northern Illinois, including Rockford and Winnebago County, is one of the 12 groups included in the first round of grant recipients.

The goal of Connect Illinois is to ensure that every Illinois resident has at least basic internet access by 2024.

“Internet access has become a basic utility, like electricity, water, or telephone service,” Stadelman said. “Whether you live in an urban neighborhood or country town, you can’t fully participate in today’s economy without the internet.”

Sen. Steve Stadelman

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34th Legislative District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Committee assignments: Financial Institutions; Higher Education; Public Health; Revenue; Telecommunications & InfoTechnology (Chairperson); Transportation.

Biography: Earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Worked as a news anchor/reporter for WTVO-Channel 17 for 25 years, In 2003, his coverage of the state's death penalty earned him an Associated Press award for Best Documentary.

Associated Representatives:
John M. Cabello
Maurice A. West II