SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Working to expand opportunities for Metro East communities, state Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Swansea, sponsored legislation recently signed into law that will expand broadband internet to economically disadvantaged communities and help close the digital divide.
“The COVID-19 pandemic displayed the clear digital gap in our state for families and communities across Illinois,” said Hoffman. “With so much from school to work to daily needs and requirements in life shifting to completely digital, reliable internet access is vital for everyone.”
Hoffman co-sponsored Senate Bill 2290 which was recently signed into law. The law creates the Internet Broadband Adoption Program to help families gain access to high speed internet. Families will be able to apply through the Department of Human Services for vouchers for broadband internet. The Department of Human Services will also be responsible for sending information about the program to eligible individuals. Households already receiving benefits under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or Medicaid will automatically be eligible for the program. The Internet Broadband Adoption Program will be funded in part by federal relief funds.
“Economically disadvantaged communities have been left behind as more and more of our daily lives have shifted online, and reliable internet has become a necessity and not a luxury,” said Hoffman. “The Internet Broadband Adoption Program will help level the playing field and close the digital divide for people in the Metro East and throughout Illinois.”