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.
Eligibility for no-cost internet service has been expanded to nearly 228,000 students
Enrollment opportunities have prioritized CPS families with the greatest need.
Funding and partnerships with ISPs cover internet service for eligible students through July 1, 2024.
Internet speeds have doubled since the program launched in response to participant feedback.
More than three out of every four families viewed the program favorably.
Three out of every four families self-reported an annual household income of less than $35,000.
Nearly one out of every three families reported not having any internet service prior to Chicago Connected.
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.
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.
Supporting Digital Learning
CPS and the city have partnered with City Colleges of Chicago and the Chicago Public Library to provide Chicago Connected families with a set of free digital learning resources to support learning, training, and skills development.
To support CPS graduating seniors, Chicago Connected service was extended for all 2021 graduates, with an option for those attending City Colleges of Chicago to further extend service for up to three years. This change marks the first step toward expanding Chicago Connected to public university students.
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.