$6.3+ million to connect rural Kansans to high-speed internet

13 News at Six
Published: Sep. 22, 2022 at 8:02 AM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - More than $6.3 million is headed to connect rural Kansans to high-speed internet through the USDA.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says on Thursday, Sept. 22, that $6.3 million in funds for high-speed internet access for rural residents and businesses in eight counties in Kansas and Nebraska. It said the investments through this third round of funds have been made possible through the ReConnect Program.

The USDA noted that it will make additional investments in coming rounds of grants from President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. It said the new legislation provides $65 billion in funds to expand affordable, high-speed internet to all communities in the U.S.

“High-speed internet is essential for success in education, healthcare, and business in the twenty-first century,” Davis said. “Federal funding makes it possible for communications companies, like J. B. N. Telephone, to serve our state’s rural communities.”

Specifically, the USDA indicated that a total of $6,319,640 will be used in Kansas to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network which will connect 704 people, 17 businesses and 225 farms to high-speed internet in Jackson, Nemaha, Pottawatomie, Republic, Washington and Riley counties. In Nebraska, the grant will benefit the communities of Jefferson and Thayer counties.

With the $6.3 million grant, the USDA said J.B.N. Telephone Company Inc. plans to make high-speed internet affordable through participation in the Federal Communication Commission’s Affordable Connectivity and Lifeline programs by providing low-income consumers who qualify for a monthly service credit of up to $30.

To be eligible for ReConnect Program funds, the USDA said an applicant is required to serve an area where high-speed internet service speeds are lower than 100 megabits per second and 20 Mbps. It said the applicant is also required to commit to building facilities able to provide service at speeds of 100 Mbps to every location in its proposed service area.

To learn more about investment resources for rural areas available through the USDA, click HERE.