Governor announces recipients of $10 million investment expanding broadband access
On Friday, May 20, Governor Laura Kelly announced the 11 recipients of the Broadband Acceleration Grant program resulting in more than $10 million of investment in high-speed broadband access across 10 rural Kansas counties.
“We’re continuing to deliver on our bold and ambitious goal to make Kansas a top 10 state for broadband access by 2030,” Governor 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, the Broadband Acceleration Grant is a ten-year, $85 million program that will bring critically needed broadband access to Kansas communities. The program is administered by the Kansas Office of Broadband Development and funded through the Kansas Department of Transportation’s Eisenhower Legacy Transportation Program (IKE). This second year of the program brings 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,” said Lieutenant Governor and Commerce Secretary David Toland. “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.”
The $5 million in grant funding for 2022 will be combined with an additional $5 million in matching funds, resulting in more than $10 million for critically needed broadband infrastructure in Kansas communities. Three of the awarded projects involve 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 projects were selected following a competitive funding round, and all proposed projects were made available for public review. To encourage input, a public comment period was included in the process, ensuring transparency and community feedback in the process of making awards.
“Our focus is on improving access for the nearly 60 percent of Kansans who are in need of robust internet connectivity,” said Interim Director of the Kansas Office of Broadband Development Melinda Stanley. “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.”
Applicants, awarded grant amounts and matching investments are as follows:
• Blue Valley Communications – Nemaha County – $ 809,549 grant award – $809,549 matching funds – $1,619,098 total investment
• Charter Communications – Leavenworth County – $403,158 grant award – $1,512,000 matching funds – $1,915,158 total investment
• Cunningham Communications – Cloud County – $500,000 grant award – $500,000 matching funds – $1,000,000 total investment
• EpicTouch Communications* – Liberal, Seward County – $889,063 grant award – $889,063* matching funds – $1,778,126 total investment
• HB Cable* – Kanopolis – $300,407 grant award – $300,407 matching funds – $600,814 total investment
• Ideatek – Seward County – $259,752 grant award – $259,752 matching funds – $519,504 total investment
• KwiKom Communications* – Paola, Miami County – $496,190 grant award – $496,190 matching funds – $992,380 total investment
• S&A – Americus, Lyon County – $121,734 grant award – $121,734 matching funds – $243,468 total investment
• SC Telcom – Harper County – $750,698 grant award – $750,698 matching funds – $1,501,396 total investment
• WTC Communications* – SE Riley County – $182,750 grant award – $182,750 matching funds – $365,500 total investment
• WTC Communications – Pottawatomie County – $286,699 grant award – $286,699 matching funds – $573,398 total investment
(* include community co-investment or are part of a KDOT “Dig Once” initiative)