Benefits of Broadband

Simon urges rural citizens to complete online survey

CARBONDALE – Lt. Governor Sheila Simon is urging rural residents to participate in a new online survey about high-speed Internet usage that will help create jobs, improve medical care and enhance educational opportunities.

Unlike past surveys that simply looked at Internet access, this statewide poll will reach out to households, farmers, businesses and anchor institutions, such as community colleges and hospitals, to learn how they put broadband to use now and their needs moving forward.

The 20-minute survey includes questions about preferred Internet devices; frequent web activities such as research, workforce training and buying or selling of goods; and the importance of broadband to job retention and expansion.

“Rural Illinoisans need affordable, high-speed Iinternet access to land new employers, expand educational opportunities and improve health care,” said Simon, who chairs the Governor’s Rural Affairs Council. “I encourage my neighbors in Southern Illinois to participate in this research project to ensure that we are a part of the state’s broadband strategy and can compete in the 21st century economy.”

The survey is being conducted by Partnership for a Connected Illinois, a Springfield nonprofit, enlisted by the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) as part of the High-Speed Internet Services and Information Technology Act of 2007 to guide local, state and federal policymakers.

The results will be used to develop broadband plans in several categories: agriculture, energy and the environment, economic development, education, health care, public safety and government performance.

Illinois is already working with its federal and private sector partners to improve current broadband infrastructure. In his State of the State address, Governor Pat Quinn announced the Illinois Gigabit Communities Challenge, a $6 million statewide competition funded by the Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction program. It will provide seed money to private and public organizations that expand broadband networks and connect at least 1,000 end-users to ultra-high speed Internet.

The online survey is open to the public and can be accessed at www.broadbandillinois.org.