KANSAS — The coronavirus pandemic has brought to the light the need for better internet access across the state of Kansas.
$49 million dollars is being sent out to Kansas communities to provide or improve access to the internet.
Governor Laura Kelly, said, “The money is part of more than one billion dollars in CARES Act funding that state leaders had to decide how to spend.”
There are 67 projects such as $5.9 million to help a group of underserved cities in Southwest Kansas including Plains, Fowler, and Meade, to a $500,000 grant to provide fiber connectivity at the Garden City Regional Airport.
“It was a rural community or an inner-city demonstrated the need to get this done in an expeditious way.”
Many rural towns in the state with slow internet struggle to hold school online, recruit businesses, and convince young people to settle down in the community.
“Our rural communities deserve support; they deserve an equal chance to succeed as their friends and neighbors do in urban communities,” said Rogers.
During the unveiling – the Governor also announced the creation of the Office of Broadband Development. It will ensure state departments, local governments, and private businesses are working toward the same goal.
“One of the biggest challenges in expanding broadband access to underserved areas is the excavation costs of installing fiberoptic cable. In what is really a commonsense approach, K-DOT is helping to reduce this cost by allowing companies to install cable as part of our highway construction work where the ground is already being dug up,” said Lorenz.
Supporters say the projects are critical but just part of the long-term solution. An additional $10 million of federal funding is going to help low-income families gain access to the internet.