Bloomington, Ill – January 18, 2023 – Recently, the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) hosted the kickoff meeting of project Broadband Breakthrough. Representatives from the five selected counties – McLean, Edgar, Schuyler, Hancock, and Ogle – met to learn more about getting affordable rural broadband access for their respective counties.
“Broadband access in our great state’s rural and remote areas opens up a world of opportunity,” said Todd Main, Market Development Director for ISA. “It connects local businesses to global markets, provides educational opportunities, and connects patients to healthcare while also allowing for population growth, higher rates of new business formation and home values, and lower unemployment rates. Broadband access is crucial to the revitalization and preservation of rural communities.”
Over the next 14 weeks, these county teams will work together to develop their grant applications to receive funding from the state and federal broadband programs. Through developing and sending out county-wide surveys, meeting with community leaders and stakeholders, identifying viable broadband anchors through mapping, conducting feasibility studies, and interviewing potential internet service providers and more, these teams will lay the gridwork and build the foundation to provide the citizens of their counties with reliable, affordable rural broadband access.
“Working with this cohort of five counties to accelerate and streamline their rural broadband access funding application allows us all to learn how to replicate this process for other counties and their leaders successfully,” said Main. “ISA is proud to be a part of this project as we work together to break through the broadband barrier.”
In the coming weeks, ISA will distribute a statewide survey asking citizens, farmers, and industry stakeholders about their internet access and speed to gain critical information for Illinois counties to identify broadband needs, viable broadband anchors in their area, and more. In many instances, neighboring counties can work together in this initiative, from identifying mutually-beneficial anchors to working with the same internet service provider (ISP). This survey will enable the experts at the Benton Institute to connect those dots and streamline the broadband application process.
The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) checkoff and membership programs represent more than 43,000 soybean farmers in Illinois. The checkoff funds market development and utilization efforts while the membership program supports the government relations interests of Illinois soybean farmers at the local, state, and national level, through the Illinois Soybean Growers (ISG). ISA upholds the interests of Illinois soybean producers through promotion, advocacy, and education with the vision of becoming a market leader in sustainable soybean production and profitability. For more information, visit the website www.ilsoy.org and www.ilsoygrowers.com.
For more information, contact DeAnna Thomas at email@example.com.