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EIU Rural School Initiative

Southeast Broadband READY Project


Broadband Meeting  Broadband Meeting  Broadband Meeting      

Robbie McBeath from the Illinois Broadband Lab shared the results of the three-month series of listening sessions across the
state to better understand the challenges residents face in accessing reliable internet service. Southeast Presentation (pdf)
Eastern Illinois University hosted the tour. (January 31, 2024)



EIU is the Regional Hub for the Economic Development Southeast Region of Illinois.

SE Region

EIU is creating a network of county governments and local organizations to support Broadband Access across our region.  The network is titled the SE READY Team. The goals are improving infrastructure and providing training to utilize online services. 

The Southeast region, led by Eastern Illinois University will lead a Broadband READY team to develop a regional response to connect broadband infrastructure with education and economic development to reduce the inequality that current exists in rural communities within the region. The EIU team will create a list of stakeholders and convening plan for regional stakeholders to be completed by June 30, 2024 to identify issues related to the equitable distribution of broadband in the 13 rural counties.

The counties: Coles, Clark, Clay, Crawford, Cumberland, Effingham, Fayette, Jasper, Marion, Moultrie, Lawrence, Richland

Cumberland County

County Broadband Initiative - Life Center in Cumberland County

SouthEast Illinois Broadband READY Project objectives:

  • Support BEAD Challenge Project for counties (now)
    • For information about the BEAD Challenge Project, contact Terry Sullivan"<>
  • Provide Digital Literacy workshops for partners (now)
    • If your organization would like to organize digital literacy workshops, please contact Wayne Verhoff <>.
  • Regional and county-based grant supports (proposal due late spring)
    • Once the grant proposal is available, we will provide more information. At that time, please contact Brian Reid (


broadband timeline

The Federal Infrastructure Initiative has $1.04 billion
for improving service in underserved communities.  The State of Illinois’ has invested $420 million in its
Connect Illinois broadband initiative. The goal is to achieve ubiquitous access to reliable, fully-scalable broadband service throughout the state. 


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