$10+ million headed to rural Kansas communities for broadband improvement
TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Governor has awarded more than $10 million to rural communities for improvements in broadband connection.
Kansas Governor Laura Kelly says on Friday, May 20, that 11 organizations have been awarded Broadband Acceleration Grants which have resulted in more than $10 million in investments in high-speed broadband access across 10 rural counties.
“We’re continuing to deliver on our bold and ambitious goal to make Kansas a top 10 state for broadband access by 2030,” Gov. Kelly said. “Affordable broadband is necessary for our communities to remain viable and competitive, and every Kansan deserves a reliable connection to the world. These grants accelerate our efforts to make that a reality.”
Launched in 2020, Kelly said the grant program is a 10-year, $85 million program that will bring crucial broadband access to Kansas communities. She said the program is administered by the Kansas Office of Broadband Development and funded through the Kansas Department of Transportation’s Eisenhower Legacy Transportation Program.
The Governor noted that this is the second year of the program which will bring the total broadband infrastructure investment in Kansas communities to more than $70 million since 2020.
“Access to quality broadband is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity,” Lieutenant Governor and Commerce Secretary David Toland said. “Broadband connectivity improves quality of life and opens the door to new business and community growth all across Kansas. We’re grateful to the community leaders who are championing broadband access at the local level and making long-term, strategic investments in their communities.”
Kelly said the $5 million in grant funding for 2022 will combine with an additional $5 million in matching funds. She said this will result in more than $10 million for needed broadband infrastructure in Kansas communities. She said three of the awarded projects include key partnerships with municipalities and include $875,000 in matching funds from the local community.
“Broadband infrastructure is as critical to the well-being of Kansans as are safe roads, bridges, and drinking water,” said Julie Lorenz, Transportation Secretary. “These IKE-funded grants, when combined with broadband funding opportunities available through the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), enable Kansas to strategically and efficiently expand quality broadband infrastructure throughout our state.”
The Governor indicated that the projects were chosen after a competitive funding round and all proposed projects were made available for public review. To encourage input, she said a public comment period was included in the process which ensured transparency and community feedback in the process of making awards.
“Our focus is on improving access for the nearly 60% of Kansans who are in need of robust internet connectivity,” Interim Director of the Kansas Office of Broadband Development Melinda Stanley said. “Governor Kelly recognizes that broadband access is a necessity for our communities and Kansas households, and though there is much work yet to do, these awards bring us another step closer to connecting all Kansans.”
Awards are as follows:
|Awardee||Location||Grant Award||Matching Funds||Total Investment|
|Blue Valley Communications||Nemaha County||$809,549||$809,549||$1,619,098|
|Charter Communications||Leavenworth County||$403,158||$1,512,000||$1,915,158|
|Cunningham Communications||Cloud County||$500,000||$500,000||$1,000,000|
|EpicTouch Communications||Liberal, Seward||$889,063||$889,063||$1,778,126|
|KwiKom Communications||Paola, Miami County||$496,190||$496,190||$992,380|
|S&A||Americus, Lyon County||$121,734||$121,734||$243,468|
|SC Telecom||Harper County||$750,698||$750,698||$1,501,396|
|WTC Communications||SE Riley County||$182,750||$182,750||$365,500|
|WTC Communications||Pottawatomie County||$286,699||$286,699|
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