Bloomington, Ill – February 14, 2023 –  The five county teams participating in ISA’s Broadband Breakthrough are gaining momentum as they head into the survey distribution and mapping phases. Over the last few weeks, these community broadband leaders have researched and designed the broadband surveys they will distribute to everyone in their respective counties. Accompanying each survey is the request for county residents  conduct an internet speed test and share the results so the committees can better understand connectivity issues they can help solve through the next phase of the project, mapping.

“Many homes in our rural communities don’t have reliable access to high-speed internet,” said Todd Main, Director of Market Development for ISA. “By taking these surveys, people can help their community broadband leaders identify gaps in the county. The leaders will use this information to help plan for broadband access expansion.”

While the team leaders have been busy developing their surveys, they have also learned from leading broadband experts across the state. To kick off this week’s meeting, Illinois Farm Bureau’s Bill Bodine presented to the cohort how to work with Illinois farmers and county farm bureaus to get them involved in rural broadband efforts.

“From working with farmers and landowners on the challenges of rural broadband access, to learning about the right of ways and easements, to understanding the importance and value of broadband when it comes to precision ag and the location of vertical assets in the county, it is imperative to get those in agriculture involved in early phases of rural broadband planning,” said Main.

In addition to Bodine’s presentation, Shubhika Agarwal of the Illinois Broadband Lab taught the teams how to use the available and efficient Illinois broadband mapping tool and also use the results to help make a case for broadband infrastructure investments by utilizing various forms of secondary data that speaks to demographic and broadband-related information.

Cohort leaders were also fortunate to learn from Illinois State University’s Dr. John Kostelnick and Dr. Jonathan Thayne as they presented a map book for counties that covers the economic potential and agricultural gain that can be realized with robust broadband infrastructure, particularly in corn and soybean production.

“These five county teams and other counties interested in participating in our Broadband Breakthrough program are fortunate to have these resources and experts available to them,” said Main. “Nowhere else in the country has this high a level of mapping capability, professional assistance, and resources available for counties to design successful broadband infrastructure plans.”

In addition to deploying their surveys, the teams will interview potential broadband service providers, and host county-wide meetings with community stakeholders to create awareness and support for the team’s broadband planning efforts.

“The next month is going to be particularly busy for these cohorts,” said Main. “Their efforts are not going unnoticed as they are the real champions, working to make their communities more vital.”

For more information about the Broadband Breakthrough program or how to become involved in the statewide ISA Broadband Breakthrough program, please get contact with Main at

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 and 

Published On: February 14, 2023Categories: Latest News, Press ReleasesTags: ,

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