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As billions of dollars of federal funding goes to Illinois and other states to improve internet infrastructure, important decisions must be made about how to distribute the funds effectively and equitably. The DSI Internet Equity Initiative produces data, tools, and research to study internet connectivity at the local scale, generating insights that can help guide these investments. In late December, Internet Equity Initiative co-PI Nicole Marwell, Associate Professor at the Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice, joined WTTW’s Chicago Tonight news program to discuss the Illinois broadband funding, the areas most in need, and what steps should be taken beyond just increasing access to high-speed networks.

“What we have to also remember is that it’s not just lack of infrastructure that leads to a household being disconnected,” Marwell said. “In the city of Chicago, where we have close to 200,000 households that still are not connected to internet, that’s not because they don’t have the infrastructure, it’s usually because they can’t afford the high price of a broadband plan, or because they are lacking in digital literacy…those issues of digital inclusion and affordability are the ones that we see as much more important in an urban area.”

You can view the full segment below, and learn more about the Internet Equity Initiative at their data portal.