CHICAGO, Ill. (WTVO) — At his daily press conference on Wednesday, Pritzker said the pandemic has shown the “digital divide” in Illinois, and pledge to bring broadband Internet to “everyone across our state” by 2024.
Pritzker acknowledged 1.1 million low-income families don’t have access to computer. He went on to announce a new program, the Connect Illinois Computer Equity Network, which expects to give out 20,000 refurbished devices within the first year.
“As we grow the program, it’s businesses and philanthropists that will make this program successful. In the spirit of the holiday season, I’m asking Illinois companies to join us in this effort, to help build on this initial down payment. When your upgrade cycle gets renewed and your old technology no longer fits the needs of your company, you can donate it, and it will be upgraded for use by a family in need,” Pritzker said.
PCs for People will operate the network with close involvement of the Illinois Office of Broadband and various community partners. The statewide network will include two central warehouse locations – one in southern Cook County and the other in the Metro East Region. Each centralized warehouse location will receive, refurbish, and redistribute computers for use by low-income households around the state.
These latest investments complement Illinois’ nation-leading broadband expansion plans, Connect Illinois, with over $420 million to be invested to bring universal access to Illinois communities by 2024. The state is accepting applications through March 1, 2021 for its second $50 million round of Connect Illinois funding.
To find out more about the program, click here.