The Kansas Department of Commerce has announced that four Kansas cities and counties will participate in a Local Technology Planning Pilot project as part of the Kansas Statewide Broadband Initiative (KSBI). Dodge City/Ford County, Fort Scott/Bourbon County, Norton/Norton County and Topeka/Shawnee County will work with consultants, local partners and Commerce to understand broadband needs and priorities, and develop strategic plans to meet their objectives.
“Quality broadband is critical for success in today’s economy,” Kansas Commerce Secretary Pat George said. “Businesses and entrepreneurs need broadband to communicate, reach customers, utilize services in the cloud, develop products and conduct numerous other activities. Kansas service providers have been leaders in providing innovative broadband, but it’s important to understand what challenges remain across the state and how communities and businesses can work together to address those.”
The objective of the KSBI is to promote economic and community development in Kansas through state availability and use of quality broadband services, infrastructure and applications. By harnessing the power of a robust broadband infrastructure, Kansas is positioned to be a pioneer in the next generation of innovative applications used to grow businesses and communities.
The cities and counties participating in the Local Technology Planning Pilot will work to improve their organizational capacity and establish a technology planning direction. This will be accomplished by documenting and quantifying local supply, demand and economic impact. Modeling will show the network cost to serve, demand and revenue, unique local factors and future projections. The strategy reports developed in each pilot project will incorporate analytical findings, best practices and next steps that local stakeholders recommend.
“This project does not provide funding for infrastructure, but instead allows us to work with local partners to help communities and businesses assess their broadband needs and develop strategies for meeting those needs,” said KSBI Program Director Stanley Adams. “The initial four communities participating in the pilot represent a range of geographic and demographic profiles designed to assess rural and underserved priorities. Communities across the state will be able to draw from the best practices and strategies these communities develop as part of the pilot project.”
The KSBI is funded through a federal grant from the NTIA. Additional broadband resources and research are available at KansasCommerce.com.