Creating Connections on Chicago’s Southwest Side

AT&T Blog Team
June 22, 2023
Broadband Access and Affordability

Creating Connections on Chicago’s Southwest Side

For students on Chicago’s southwest side, new laptops are on the way as summer kicks off in the Windy City.

As students are getting ready to say goodbye to the classroom and hello to summer vacation, some may be at risk of forgetting what they learned during the school year, often referred to as “summer slide” or “summer learning loss.” While summertime can mean soaking up the sun and enjoying a popsicle by the pool, the books may start collecting dust.

As part of our efforts to help slow the summer slide and continuing working to help bridge the digital divide, AT&T provided 100 refurbished laptops to students in need on June 6 at New Life Centers of Chicagoland, home to one of two AT&T Connected Learning Centers (CLCs) in Chicago that provides residents free access to AT&T Fiber, wi-fi, computers and digital literacy workshops.

One student who visits the New Life Centers Connected Learning Center to use the high-speed internet access and computers to help tackle his homework attended the event and received his own laptop computer. Now, he’ll be more prepared to complete his schoolwork at home or on the go as he enters high school this coming school year.

“For our families it’s a life changer. It’s amazing. Because access is half the battle. For many of these kids, it will be the first laptop they ever have. For some of the homes it will be the only computer they have in the house,” said Matt DeMateo, Executive Director, New Life Centers of Chicagoland.

In addition to the laptops, we shared information with families about internet affordability through the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).

AT&T is participating in the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program to help make broadband more affordable. Eligible customers can apply the federal ACP benefit to the plan that works best for them including our “Access from AT&T” plan.1

The plan – when combined with the federal Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) benefit – can provide no-cost home internet service for eligible households. Learn more at

“When we connect a student to the internet, we’re connecting them to greater possibilities. At AT&T, that’s what we do. And we are so proud of it,” said Eileen Mitchell, President, AT&T Illinois.

By The Numbers: How AT&T is helping bridge the digital divide in Illinois:

  • More than 700 computers distributed to families
  • More than 100 digital literacy workshops (including with Public Library Association)
  • More than $3.1 billion invested in Illinois wired and wireless networks (2020-2022)

1Plans up to 100Mbps and includes unlimited data. Limited availability/areas. Free internet subject to household’s continued ACP eligibility and application of the ACP benefit to Access from AT&T plans. Limit of one ACP benefit per household.