DECATUR — Macon County is taking a major step towards bridging the digital divide with a 14-week, fast-track program dedicated to expanding broadband access across the county. In collaboration with Benton Institute, Illinois Soybean Association, and University of Illinois Extension, local leaders will assess the current state of broadband availability and options, learn from successful models in other communities, and engage in an in-depth opportunity analysis to identify the best strategy to move forward.
The team leading this work for Macon County includes:
- Macon County Board and Officials
- Macon County Farm Bureau
- City of Decatur
- Township Officials of Macon County
- Decatur Regional Chamber of Commerce
- The Community Foundation of Macon County
- Macon-Piatt Regional Office of Education
- University of Illinois Extension
- Economic Development Corporation of Decatur & Macon County
- Ameren Illinois Company
- Jenner Ag
- Macon County Farmers
By completing a quick online survey at go.illinois.edu/MaconCoConnectivity or picking up a paper copy at designated locations, residents can help demonstrate the demand for better services to potential providers. Locations include the Macon County Board Office, Macon County Farm Bureau, Macon County Extension Office, and any Macon County public library.
According to an Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity audit, only 13 percent of Macon County households have access to 1 Gig speed or higher. An underwhelming 3,880 households have less than 100/20 Mbps access, which is the current benchmark for the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment program, an effort established in the 2021 Infrastructure Act.
Complete the survey today! Every voice matters when it comes to bridging the digital divide in Macon County.
Maria Lightner is the marketing and communications program coordinator for the University of Illinois Extension. She currently serves the area covering DeWitt, Macon, and Piatt counties.