SB 919SPRINGFIELD – In response to a recent report that revealed 41% of older Black Illinoisans and 46% of Latinos don’t have access to broadband internet, State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago) successfully championed a new law that will give minority groups a larger say in Illinois’ broadband policies.

“Broadband internet today is what electricity or the telephone was 100 years ago,” Collins said. “If you don’t have high-speed internet access, you can’t participate in so many parts of life: education, business, health care, and more.”

The new law, originally Senate Bill 919, adds four members to the Broadband Advisory Council. The new members must come from community-based organizations representing Black people, Latinos, Asian Americans or Pacific islanders, and ethnically diverse people.

The Broadband Advisory Council advises the Connect Illinois Program – Governor JB Pritzker’s statewide initiative to expand broadband across the entire state. Connect Illinois is overseeing a number of grant programs to help high speed internet reach every person in Illinois.

“Internet access is another area where our communities face long-standing inequities that worsen existing problems and barriers,” Collins said. “I hope that by bringing more minority voices to the table, we can truly overcome this problem.”

The law takes effect Jan. 1, 2022.

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