broadbandIllinois is a large state with big towns, small cities, many small towns and a huge city. The population and infrastructure where you live may determine your access to many of life’s resources.

One such resource important to most of us is an ability to use high-speed broadband for Internet access. With so many square miles of Illinois consisting of fields, farms and forests, you might think people who live in those areas are too rural or too remote to conduct personal and professional business easily online. In the early years of the Internet, that old, slow dial-up may have been your only option in rural areas.

Today, Illinois is a leader in the Midwest in high-speed Internet access. According to the Partnership for a Connected Illinois, 99.5 percent of the state has some type of access as of 2013. With $293 million of federal and state investments during the past several years, more Illinoisans now benefit from projects related to telemedicine, economic development, education, health care and career development than ever.

PCI’s goal is to foster high-speed Internet connectivity for schools, hospitals, businesses, public safety, citizens and government. Executive Director Phil Halstead and his team provide leadership and outreach throughout the state with regional summits and a wealth of data on coverage and access options. They partner with dozens of businesses, foundations, economic developers and community and civic organizations.

On their website, broadbandillinois.org, PCI’s maps and charts show where and what type of service is available. They even offer to help you find and request information if you don’t know if you have high-speed Internet access. PCI will release its 2014 annual report soon, and we will share updates when available.

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