Connect Illinois Broadband Grant Program
CSFA Number: 420-35-2366
Agency Name
Department Of Commerce And Economic Opportunity (420)
Agency Contact
Matt Schmit
Short Description
The Connect Illinois Broadband Grant Program includes $400 in appropriated funds available for expansion of broadband infrastructure throughout the state. Through multiple rounds of competitive matching grants, Connect Illinois will provide direct matching grants, awarded on a competitive basis via merit based review, to grant applicants including broadband providers, rural cooperatives, local governments, nonprofit organizations, and partnerships.
Subject Area
Economic Development
Program Function
Regional Development
Enabling Legislation
Public Act 101-0029
Objectives and Goals
Connect Illinois seeks to achieve what no other state or federal approach to date has accomplished: ubiquitous broadband access for homes, businesses, and community anchor institutions. In addition, the program seeks to drive economic development and advances in such areas as telehealth, distance learning, and precision agriculture.
Types of Assistance
Project Grants
Uses and Restrictions
Eligible costs refer to the costs associated with the acquisition and installation of middle mile and/or last mile infrastructure that can support broadband service scalable to speeds of at least 100 Mbps download and 100 Mbps upload.

Last mile infrastructure is broadband installation that serves as the final leg connecting the broadband service provider’s network to the end-user customer’s on-premise telecommunications equipment. Middle mile infrastructure is broadband construction that links a broadband service provider’s core network infrastructure to last mile infrastructure.

Eligible project costs for this NOFO may include the following: proposal development; network design; project planning; obtaining construction permits; construction of facilities – including deployment of middle mile and/or last mile infrastructure; durable equipment; and installation and testing of the broadband service.
Eligibility Requirements
a) Eligible Applicants. Eligible applicants for this program include: an incorporated business or partnership; a political subdivision; a nonprofit organization; a cooperative association; or a limited liability corporation organized for the purpose of expanding broadband access..

b) Eligible Project Areas. Broadband service and/or infrastructure projects located in unserved and/or underserved areas are eligible for Connect Illinois grant funding through this NOFO.

An unserved area is an area of Illinois in which households, businesses, or community anchor institutions lack access to wireline broadband service of at least 25/3 Mbps. An underserved area is an area of Illinois in which households, businesses, or community anchor institutions have wireline broadband access of at least 25/3 Mbps but less than 100/20 Mbps.

These designations are reflected in broadband mapping utilized by the Connect Illinois program; for this NOFO, the mapping relies upon flawed Federal Communications Commission (FCC) data that often overstate broadband access and available service. As a result, applications may demonstrate through the application and subsequent communication with the Illinois Office of Broadband that available service in otherwise ineligible project areas is overstated as reflected in current Connect Illinois mapping available at: In such instances, initially ineligible areas may be considered eligible for funding. Likewise, providers are encouraged to contact the Illinois Office of Broadband if broadband access and available service is understated on available Connect Illinois maps.
Eligible Applicants
Government Organizations; Nonprofit Organizations; For-Profit Organizations; Small Businesses; Public Housing Organizations; Other;
Application and Award Processing
The Applicant (unless the Applicant is a Federal or State awarding agency that is exempt from those requirements under 2 CFR § 25.110(b) or (c), or has an exception approved by the Federal or State awarding agency under 2 CFR § 25.110(d)) is required to:
i. Be registered in SAM before submitting its application. To establish a SAM registration, go to and/or utilize this instructional link: How to Register in SAM from the Resource Links tab.
ii. Provide a valid DUNS number in its application; and
iii. Continue to maintain an active SAM registration with current information at all times during which it has an active Federal, Federal pass-through or State award or an application or plan under consideration by a Federal or State awarding agency. The State awarding agency may not make a Federal pass-through or State award to an applicant until the Applicant has complied with all applicable DUNS and SAM requirements and, if an Applicant has not fully complied with the requirements by the time the State awarding agency is ready to make a Federal pass-through or State award, the State awarding agency may determine that the applicant is not qualified to receive a Federal pass-through or State award and use that determination as a basis for making a Federal pass-through or State award to another applicant.

To be deemed eligible for funding, completed applications and all required supporting documentation – five (5) paper copies OR one (1) electronic PDF – must be received by the Illinois Office of Broadband on or before 5 p.m. on Friday, April 3, 2020.

The paper copies of the completed application packages with all associated documentation must fit on 8.5” x 11” paper. This size restriction includes all paper copy versions of maps and tables. Large format maps (e.g. .shp, .kmz, .kml) should be provided in an electronic submittal.

If paper copy documentation for a particular response is voluminous and therefore easier to attach as a separate paper or electronic file, it should be labeled as an Appendix with the associated item number with which it corresponds in the grant application.

The Illinois Office of Broadband will award grants to projects that help advance the Connect Illinois vision while demonstrating optimal impact of Connect Illinois funds. Applications will be reviewed and evaluated by a team from the Illinois Office of Broadband. This team will use the following criteria and associated point values (200 points possible) to assist in systematically scoring applications and awarding grants. These criteria will be applied to information provided by the Applicant in response to the requirements of this NOFO. To ensure that an application receives the highest possible scoring, please be sure to provide complete, comprehensive, and clear responses for all information requested; as such, succinct responses are encouraged as appropriate.

The team will strive to achieve geographic balance throughout the state in awarding grants. As a result, applications may be considered on a regional basis per the 10 designated state economic development regions of Illinois, a map of which is available at:

Applications also may be considered on the basis of three categories of focus. Given the Connect Illinois vision to achieve broadband ubiquity while driving economic development and advances in areas such as distance learning, precision agriculture, and telehealth, applications should be classified under one of three categories: (a) broadband access for Illinois homes, businesses, and community anchor institutions; (b) broadband innovation for economic development and related applications; or (c) urban broadband for access and/or innovation in qualified Illinois cities or metropolitan areas of 75,000 residents or more. Although successful projects may – and are encouraged to – produce positive impact toward both broadband access and broadband innovation, Applicants must indicate under which of the three categories an application is intended to be considered.
Assistance Consideration
Formula and Matching Requirements. The Connect Illinois Broadband Grant Program will contribute up to 50 percent of the eligible costs for a qualifying project. To obtain a grant, the applicant must provide for the funding not covered by the grant with matching funds. The match can come from any private and/or public sources available to the Applicant. The merit-review scoring process will award points to applications that leverage matching funds totaling 55% or more of total eligible project costs.
Documentation to validate the availability of matching funds is required as part of the application. Some examples of appropriate documentation include: a letter of credit; letter confirming funds from a bank; board resolution committing funding; or loan documentation. If the application will have additional financial partners contributing to the matching funds, the application must also identify the financial partner(s) and documentation of the amount and availability of each partner’s financial match.
Post Assistance Requirements
a) Reports. Grantees funded through this NOFO are required to submit in the format required by the Grantor, at least on a quarterly basis, the PPR and PFR electronically to their assigned grant manager. The first of such reports shall cover the first three months after the award begins. Pursuant to 2 CFR 200.327, Periodic Financial Reports shall be submitted no later than 30 calendar days following the period covered by the report. Pursuant to 2 CFR 200.328, Periodic Performance Reports shall be submitted no later than 30 calendar days following the period covered by the report. Any additional reporting requirements will be disclosed in the Notice of State Award (NOSA).

Grantees are required within 60 calendar days following the end of the period of performance to submit a final closeout report in the format required by the Grantor (See 2 CFR 200.343).

b) Audits. Grantees shall be subject to Illinois’ statewide Audit Report Review requirements. Terms of the Single Audit Act Amendments of 1996 (31 USC 7501-7507), Subpart F of 2 CFR Part 200, and the audit rules set forth under the Grant Accountability and Transparency Act shall apply (See 30 ILCS 708/65(c)).

c) Records. Grantees funded through this NOFO are subject to fiscal and programmatic monitoring visits by the Department in accordance with 2 CFR 200.336. They must have an open-door policy allowing periodic visits by Department monitors to evaluate the progress of the project and provide documentation upon request of the monitor. Program staff will also maintain contact with the participating businesses and monitor progress and performance of the contracts. The Department may modify grants based on performance.
Regulations, Guidelines, Literature
Grant Accountability and Transparency Act (GATA) Grantee Portal:
Grant Payment: 44 Ill Admin. Code Title 44, Subtitle F, Part 7000 Section 120
Periodic Financial Reports: 2 CFR 200.327 and Periodic Performance Reports: 2 CFR 200.328
Monitoring: 2 CFR 200.336
Final Closeout Report: 2 CFR 200.343
Audit: 31 USC 7501-7507 and 30 ILCS 708/65(c)
Funding By Fiscal Year
FY 2020 : $50,000,000
Federal Funding
Notice of Funding Opportunities
Agency IDAward RangeApplication Range
DetailsFY20 Broadband 01$0 - $500000002/05/2020 - 04/14/2020 : 5:00pm