Illinois is both the 6th most populated State and the 6th highest-ranking State in terms of internet access. The best broadband coverage in Illinois is concentrated in northeastern counties, with comparatively less coverage in the southeast. Of course, not all counties follow this rule, with patches of good and not-so-good coverage throughout the State. Illinois internet users enjoy an average download speed of 171.3 Mbps, which is similar to average speeds in Florida, Washington DC, Connecticut, and even top-ranking New Jersey.
The Digital Divide in Illinois
The separation between those who have access to the latest telecommunications technology and those who don’t in a certain region constitutes what is known as the ‘digital divide’. The two biggest factors that help assess the severity of the digital divide in terms of internet access are affordability and availability.
As for the cost of internet in Illinois, affordability data shows that 62.2% (over 7.88 million) of Illinois’ population has access to a wired internet plan that costs equal to or less than $60 per month. This is better than the nationwide percentage of consumers with access to the same.
There are 353 internet providers in Illinois, and over 94% of Illinoisans have access to wired broadband with speeds of 25mbps or faster. Still, 334,000 people do not have access to any wired providers. Another 866,000 residents have internet access, yet only have one provider offering service at their home address. Finally, 727,000 of Illinois residents that have internet access do not have a connection capable of even 25 Mbps download speeds.
While many cities in Illinois are relatively well-connected, the cities that have the best internet access in terms of price, speed, and coverage are Montgomery, Hinsdale, Hanover Park, Brookfield, and Algonquin, with the highest-ranking city listed first.
Across Illinois’ digital divide, other cities rate the lowest on the scale of best-connected cities. The worst-connected cities include Lee Center, Eleroy, Bluff Springs, Rome, and Kasbeer, with the lowest-ranking city last in the list.
In the past decade, the State of Illinois has received a significant amount of federal grant money to fuel the expansion of broadband infrastructure, accounting for 5% of all federal infrastructure grants.
Additionally, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity has launched the ‘Connect Illinois’ initiative with the goal of increasing statewide broadband access. Part of the initiative features a $400 million broadband grant program.
Facts and figures backing the above information have been taken from a mix of public and private data sources. Learn more about our data here.