Gov. Kelly announces over $23M to expand broadband in rural Kansas

Gov. Laura Kelly announced Dec. 15 that $23.1 million will be awarded to six service providers that will bring high-speed broadband service to nearly 4,200 homes, businesses, schools, health care facilities, and other institutions in unserved and rural areas of the state. This is the second of three rounds of awards from the Kansas Capital Project Funds Grant Program.

The goal of this funding is to solve the “last mile” of broadband need in critical areas. The targeted counties have as few as five locations per square mile, which until now has prevented companies from investing the resources to deliver a quality broadband option. The CPF Grant Program provides the funding needed to implement high-speed broadband in these areas of the state. 

“By connecting nearly 4,200 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,” Kelly said. “This funding knocks down a barrier for Kansans looking to participate in the digital economy, access telemedicine, and take advantage of online education.”

The grant program results from the U.S. Department of Treasury’s approval of Kansas’ Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund broadband infrastructure plan. 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. Kansas was one of the first eight states in the country approved for funding under this program and was allocated $83.5 million. The CPF program opportunity resulted in 141 applications from providers requesting $693 million in funding support to build out broadband infrastructure across Kansas.   

“The Capital Projects Fund program provides the funding necessary for providers to connect Kansans located in some of the most underserved areas of our state,” Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland said. “We will continue to work with partners across Kansas to ensure all communities have the high-speed broadband they need to compete and succeed.”

Once matching funds from the service providers are included, the total broadband investment in Phase 2 surpasses $30 million.

“The Capital Projects Fund represents the largest grant opportunity to date from the Office of Broadband Development,” said Jade Piros de Carvalho, Director of the Office of Broadband Development. “We are excited about partnering with providers to make a positive impact in communities that have fallen in the digital divide.”

Grant awardees and communities that will benefit from the second phase of the Kansas CPF Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program include:

  • IdeaTek (Finney, Haskell, Scott, Seward counties) – $7,943,385 to connect 1,121 premises;

  • KwiKom (Franklin, Lyon, Osage counties) – $1,810,941 to connect 1,333 premises;

  • Mokan Dial (Franklin County) – $6,948,173 to connect 663 premises;

  • PGB Fiber, LLC (Finney County) – $1,811,463 to connect 137 premises;

  • S&T Communications (Wallace County) – $997,844 to connect 118 premises; and

  • WTC (Geary, Pottawatomie, Riley, Shawnee counties) – $3,599,749 to connect 814 premises.