Nearly $16 million headed to Kansas broadband providers for expansions

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Published: Nov. 6, 2022 at 1:14 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Nearly $16 million will head to Kansas broadband providers to expand internet access.

On Friday, Nov. 4, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly announced that $15.7 million will be awarded to seven providers that bring high-speed broadband services to underserved, economically distressed and low-population areas in the Sunflower State. She said this is the first of three rounds of awards from the Kansas Capital Project Funds Broadband Grant Program.

Gov. Kelly indicated that this phase of funds will connect more than 1,900 homes, businesses, schools, healthcare facilities and other public institutions to reliable internet within the next two years.

Kelly noted that the funds aim to solve the “last mile” of broadband needed in critical areas. She said the targeted counties have as few as five locations per square mile - which, until now, has prevented companies from investments to deliver a quality option. She said the program provides the funds needed to implement high-speed broadband in these areas of the state.

“By connecting nearly 2,000 more Kansas homes, businesses, and schools to high-speed internet, we’re continuing to deliver on our goal of giving every Kansan a connection to the world,” the Governor said. “We’ve made substantial progress throughout my administration, and this funding knocks down another barrier to ensuring communities across the entire state have broadband access.”

Kelly said the new program results from the U.S. Department of Treasury’s approval of Kansas’ Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund broadband infrastructure plan. She said the federal CPF program is a $10 billion initiative available to states, territories and tribal governments under the American Rescue Plan Act to fund capital projects.

“We are at 55,000 new households and businesses connected already in the Kelly Administration, and we will not stop until every Kansas resident has the connectivity needed to compete in the digital economy,” Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland.

The Governor noted that Kansas was one of the first eight states to be approved for the fund under this program and was allocated $83.5 million. She said the program opportunity resulted in 141 applications from providers requesting $693 million in funds to support to build out broadband infrastructure across Kansas.

Kelly indicated that chosen service providers will provide partial matching funds, bringing the total project amount for the first round to $19,700,991. She said all 141 applications remain eligible for the next two rounds of funds.

“This is just the beginning of the work we’ll complete through the Capital Projects Fund,” said Jade Piros de Carvalho, Director of the Office of Broadband Development. “Providers across the state have stepped up to partner with our office and the communities they serve to meet the needs of residents and businesses.”

The Governor said the first round of grant recipients is as follows:

  • Craw-Kan Telephone Cooperative (Anderson and Allen counties) – $4,584,590 to connect 385 premises
  • Giant Communications (Jackson County) – $895,295 to connect163 premises
  • MT Networks LLC (Coffey County) – $2,581,932 to connect 326 premises
  • Nex-Tech (Thomas County) – $541,320 to connect 64 premises
  • Pioneer Communications (Hamilton County) – $202,484 to connect 54 premises
  • S&A Telephone (Lyon County) – $3,746,870 to connect 421 premises
  • Totah Communications (Montgomery and Chautauqua counties) – $3,244,793 to connect 500 premises