The program, named Advancing Broadband Equity through Learning Intermediaries in the Neighborhoods of Chicago (ABE-LINC), will tackle the digital divide by expanding broadband, distributing laptops and improving digital literacy through navigators conducting community outreach and training. In Chicago, over 15% of households don’t have access to internet or internet- enabled devices including laptop computers, tablets, or smartphones, which impacts families’ ability to access education and workplace opportunities.

What We Offer:

ABELINC offers workshops in digital literacy for communities around CSU’s and its partnered community organizations. Digital literacy workshops are taught by digital navigators at different sites, course topics include, but are not limited to, cybersecurity, safety and security threats, navigating computers, and accessing public benefits and programs. Each learner that completes our 6-week course earns a Chromebook and free or low-cost internet access.

Our Partners

Along with CSU, NEIU, UIC, NIU, and IIN, local partners of the grant include Governors State University, Chicago Urban League, City Colleges of Chicago, Illinois Department of Innovation and Technology, Instituto del Progreso Latino, Chicago Commons, Cook County Sheriff’s Department, PCs for People, and Safer Foundation. The Illinois Innovation Network (IIN) invited collaborators and guided development of the project proposal.

About Chicago State University

Chicago State University, founded in 1867, is the oldest public university in the Chicago Metropolitan area. The University’s five colleges offer over 70 undergraduate and graduate degree-granting and non-degree programs. CSU is committed to equity in education, serving as the only U.S. Department of Education-designated four-year Predominantly Black Institution in Illinois and ranked by a Harvard economist in the top 4% of public and private universities nationwide in supporting our graduates’ economic mobility. The University serves as a prominent civic space on the greater South Side of Chicago by hosting a multitude of athletic, educational, cultural, and recreational activities. The University is located near public transit that provides convenient access to the campus. For more information, visit here.


About the Illinois Innovation Network

The Illinois Innovation Network, which is led by the University of Illinois System, is a group of 15 hubs across the state working to drive inclusive innovation and economic and workforce development across the state. Hubs, most of which are based at public universities, use a combination of research, public-private partnerships, entrepreneurship, and workforce training programs to spur inclusive economic development in their regions and across the state.

Illinois Broadband Map Initiative

The Illinois Broadband Initiative is a state-wide program dedicated to ensuring every corner of Illinois has access to reliable, high-speed internet. The program is committed to bridging the digital divide by enhancing broadband infrastructure, particularly in underserved and rural areas. Its mission is to empower communities through improved internet access, supporting economic growth, education, and healthcare services. Join us in connecting Illinois to a brighter, more connected future.

Step 1: Confirm what internet speed your household subscribes to, and write it down or take a screenshot. Log into your internet service account to check.

Step 2: Visit BEADChallenge.org and click “Start” to run a speed test.

Step 3: Click on “Click here for full instructions!” and then fill in your name, email, zip code, address, and speed you currently subscribe to. Then click “Submit” and repeat 2 more times, over 2 more days.


A speed test measures the speed and quality of your internet at a point in time.
Taking a speed test will help ensure that the Illinois Broadband Map accurately shows where there is and is not quality internet available to residents.
By completing a speed test using this tool and sharing your location information, the University of Chicago Internet Equity Initiative will submit internet quality information on your behalf.
You’ll then be prompted to complete two more speed tests on two separate days to complete the process. To help you out, you'll receive email reminders to complete your second and third speed tests.


Calling all Illinois Residents