News & Events
Here you can learn about new nonprofit projects and what's new at our organization.
SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS, December 19, 2012 – Residents in 35 rural Illinois counties are set to receive $1.5 million in discounted internet service, digital literacy training,
and low-cost internet devices as part of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Broadband Lifeline Adoption Pilot Program Competition, the FCC today announced.
Broadband Illinois and its partners are one of 14 “high-quality pilot projects” selected to collect data on the effects of providing discounted internet service. The pilot program will target individuals that need connectivity the most: the 37 percent of Illinoisans who do not use broadband in their homes.
The FCC is transitioning from providing low-cost phone service to enabling low-cost internet connections. Research is needed on how to structure such a national broadband program. Each selected pilot project will provide “critical data and rigorous analysis regarding how Lifeline can effectively and efficiently increase broadband adoption and retention among low-income consumers,” the FCC said.
“Robust, affordable broadband has become essential to access jobs, education, and economic opportunity,” the said the FCC. “More than 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies today require online job applications. And students with broadband at home have a 7 percent higher graduate rate. But low-income households adopt broadband at much lower rates than the average household: Fewer than 36 percent of families with incomes less than $25,000 subscribe to broadband at home, compared to nearly 92 percent of families with incomes over $75,000.”
Eligible Telecommunications Carriers include: Adams Telephone Cooperative, Cass Telephone Company, Harrisonville Telephone Company, Madison Telephone Company, Mid Century Telephone Cooperative, Shawnee Telephone Company, and Wabash Telephone Cooperative. One-on-one digital literacy training and outreach will be provided by Broadband Illinois, Connected Living and Citizens Utility Board.
Broadband Illinois Website: www.broadbandillinois.org or Facebook at Facebook.com/BroadbandIllinois
For full press release from Broadband Illinois: http://www.broadbandillinois.org/news/218
For FCC press release, click here.
President of Illinois Not-for-Profit Notes Impact of Voluntary Contributions
June 29, 2012......Hundreds of new low-income households in Illinois received local home phone service in April with the assistance of the Universal Telephone Service Assistance Program (UTSAP), a success notable because it was managed through voluntary contributions from Illinois consumers.
The federal Link-Up program that had for years provided an additional subsidy to offset the cost of local home phone installation for low-income consumers was eliminated in March. Despite the loss of the federal discount, the state voluntary program, which continues to partially offset installation costs for qualified low-income consumers, has seen steady use of the state installation assistance program.
"We want to recognize and thank our generous contributors and encourage people to continue to donate to help all Illinoisans stay connected," said Allen Cherry, President of the Universal Telephone Assistance Corporation (UTAC) Board, which administers the low-income telephone assistance programs in Illinois.
The programs administered by UTAC are funded entirely through voluntary contributions and would not exist without the donations of Illinois residents. UTAC is able to continue offsetting the cost of home phone installation thanks to their generosity. To donate to UTAC or learn more about its programs, go to www.linkupillinois.org.
UTAC administers the Illinois UTSAP programs and the federal Lifeline program, which provides a monthly credit against the cost of basic local phone service. Without these programs many low-income Illinois residents would be without phone service and unable to reach family, friends, or emergency services. These programs ensure Illinois' most vulnerable are never without a phone in an emergency.
To qualify for assistance, an individual must be participating in one of the following government assistance programs: Medicaid, Food Stamps, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Low Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP), federal public housing, National Free School Lunch Program or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or meet a federal income level requirement.
Following the federal decision to eliminate the installation program Link -Up, UTAC has made the decision to increase its subsidy of the cost of installation in its 2012 filing proposal. The ICC will need to approve the increase before it is rolled out some time in the fall of 2012. The cost of phone installation can be a major obstacle to low-income Illinois households and UTAC hopes its increased subsidy will help to offset some of the costs that resulted from the FCC cancellation.