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Chicago Connected

A Groundbreaking Initiative to Provide Free High-Speed Internet For Families in Need

Providing Fast and Free High-Speed Internet for Students who Need it the Most

Chicago Connected is a groundbreaking program that provides no-cost, high-speed internet service to CPS students and their families. This first-of-its-kind program will be one of the largest efforts by any city to provide internet access for students.

Through partnerships with businesses, community groups, governments and philanthropic organizations, Chicago Connected is responding to an opportunity to eliminate a barrier to digital learning that disproportionately hurts the city’s low‐income families and students of color.

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40k
Families enrolled in the program
35
Community organizations supporting digital equity and literacy

Our Commitments

Chicago Connected is leading the way in digital inclusion through a commitment to helping students access the tools they need to be successful.

Access

Eligibility for no-cost internet service has been expanded to nearly 228,000 students

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Equity

Enrollment opportunities have prioritized CPS families with the greatest need.

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Sustainability

Funding and partnerships with ISPs cover internet service for eligible students through July 1, 2024.

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Speed

Internet speeds have doubled since the program launched in response to participant feedback.

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Understanding Chicago Connected’s Impact

A survey of nearly 5,000 program participants conducted by Kids First Chicago in early 2021 shows that Chicago Connected is fulfilling its mission to support the district’s highest-need students and families. 

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82percent
75percent
27percent

Connecting Our Communities

Chicago Connected has become a national model for closing the digital divide for public school children and their families, inspiring similar programs in other districts and cities across the country. This effort began by recognizing the urgent needs of Chicago students and it continues to evolve to further support CPS families.

 Responding to a Need

According to census data, an estimated 100,000 students lack access to high-speed internet in Chicago. In order to narrow the digital divide for our families, CPS and the City of Chicago partnered with Comcast and RCN to offer high-speed internet for CPS families who are most in need.

 Investing in Digital Equity

Since its launch in June 2020, more than 40,000 families have enrolled in the program. Chicago Connected has also expanded eligibility to nearly 228,000 students creating the foundation for a permanent publicly supported system for families in the city.

 Improving Service

After capturing feedback from families who expressed a need for faster internet speeds, CPS worked with Comcast and RCN to double speeds for all current and future participants. That means faster video conferencing, faster streaming, and faster web browsing for all families enrolled in the Chicago Connected program.

 Developing Digital Literacy

CPS and the city are partnering with City Colleges of Chicago and the Chicago Public Library to provide Chicago Connected families with a set of free digital literacy resources to support learning, training, and skills development.

A Message from Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot

Chicago Connected has been successful in ensuring our students and their families have the resources they need to attend and engage in school during this unpredicted time. Now, with the welcomed expansion of this initiative and increased internet speeds, even more of our city's students will have the tools they need to continue to progress academically under challenged conditions.

Lori E. Lightfoot, 56th Mayor of Chicago

Mother and daughter using a laptop to attend a virtual class.

Moving Forward

Expanding internet access to CPS households represents the first phase of a larger effort by the City of Chicago focused on digital equity. The City is evaluating additional ways to improve internet infrastructure investments in communities in need beyond CPS families and is dedicated to further exploring how to broaden Chicago Connected to help more families citywide.

More Information

Tech Resources for Remote Learning

Parent Tech Support Portal (Hotline: 773-417-1060)