U of I awarded grant to help bridge digital divide

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCCU/WICS) — The University of Illinois Urbana Champaign is receiving $50,000 to improve its internet access and speeds.

The funding is part of the state’s Regional Engagement for Adoption + Digital Equity (READY) program which looks to expand digital access to communities throughout Illinois.

Anita Chan with the University’s School of Information Sciences says, “The Community Data Clinic (CDC) at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign has been energized by the cross regional network that the DCEO Broadband Initiative has activated. The DCEO’s rapidly responsive programming allows the CDC to leverage current opportunities and expand the work of our interdisciplinary team of researchers and community leaders – who bridge some of the state’s top talent in data visualization, data justice and community informatics. It also helps us to extend equitable access to technology and support for some of the most vulnerable households in East Central Illinois who are typically overlooked when it comes to technology, and to build a model for addressing the unique needs of poor households who are often burdened with a technology “dignity gap.” Via this work, we hope to highlight Illinois’ leadership in advancing digital equity in the region and beyond.”