GRAYSLAKE – State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) is encouraging local businesses to apply for the second round of broadband grants to help mend the digital divide throughout Lake County.

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“No student should have to miss out on learning, no parents should have to miss out on work, and no person in general should have to miss out on all the benefits broadband offers on a daily basis,” Bush said. “The COVID-19 pandemic further showed us how important internet is for a person’s daily well-being.”

The Office of Broadband Regional Engagement for Adoption + Digital Equity (READY) program is designed to increase access, adoption and use of high-speed internet access through the lens of digital equity and inclusion. To further these efforts across all ten economic development regions of the state, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Office of Broadband is launching the next READY notice of funding opportunity, with another $250,000 available for grants.

The Broadband READY program is part of a comprehensive Digital Equity Package to boost broadband capacity while addressing existing broadband equity gaps. The READY program and other investments to enhance community planning and equitable implementation will complement the Connect Illinois program, a $400 million plan to deliver universal access to high-speed internet statewide.

Funding can be used to expand immediate broadband connectivity, conduct outreach and engagement to identify current digital inequities, and establish next steps forward. Its aim is to create a digital inclusion ecosystem through regional collaboration among institutions of higher education, planning councils, community and economic development organizations, schools, libraries, health care and local leaders, and other related stakeholders.

“We must work to ensure no one falls behind solely because they lack internet access,” Bush said. “I encourage organizations across the 31st District to apply for a grant to help us bridge the digital divide.”

The application deadline for the second round of READY grants is Oct. 4, 2021. Visit the Illinois Office of Broadband website for information on eligibility criteria or application assistance.

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Springfield Office:
218 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
Phone: (217) 782-7353

District Office:
10 N. Lake St., Suite 112
Grayslake, IL 60030
Phone: (847) 548-5631