The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Office of Broadband today announced its second cohort of the Illinois Connected Communities grant program, created to assist some of the most underserved areas of the state with building broadband capacity. Through a unique cross-sector collaboration, participating communities will have the opportunity to embark on a 12-month program to help them complete a community-driven, broadband strategic plan. To help communities improve broadband access and utilization, the State and its partners are providing up to $15,000 in state-funded small grants, access to best-practice curriculum, and more than 50 hours of consultation and community planning facilitation.