TOPEKA - Nine months after receiving a $2 million federal grant for the state’s Connect Kansas broadband initiative, the State of Kansas today was awarded an additional $4.4 million to extend and expand the initiative.
The funding - which comes from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act - enables Kansas to: extend mapping and data collection efforts for an additional three years; create regional technology planning teams to develop localized broadband plans; support various broadband initiatives, strategies and planning activities statewide; and commit additional staff to the broadband initiative.
“Today’s announcement is great news for Kansas as we continue our efforts to increase broadband availability and adoption across the state,” Governor Mark Parkinson said. “This additional funding allows us to expand high-speed Internet access, thus bringing economic opportunities and quality-of-life improvements for all Kansans.”
Connect Kansas is a Kansas Department of Commerce initiative to increase broadband Internet availability and adoption in the state’s underserved areas. The initiative is funded primarily by the NTIA through the Recovery Act, which has invested $7.2 billion to help states undertake broadband expansion efforts to ensure all citizens can access the economic and quality-of-life benefits of high-speed Internet.
Connect Kansas has two components: 1) mapping Kansas’ broadband capacity, as well as related planning; and 2) providing federal grants and loans to Kansas businesses and organizations undertaking broadband expansion projects. Today’s announcement concerns only the mapping and planning component. To date, nine Kansas companies and organizations have been awarded more than $147 million in Recovery Act grants and loans to expand broadband Internet infrastructure.
Today’s announcement gives Kansas additional momentum heading into the state’s first-ever Kansas Broadband Summit, which will take place Oct. 24-25 at the Wichita Marriot. The Broadband Summit will bring together industry, community organizations, government leaders and the public to discuss Kansas’ broadband landscape. For more information, or to register to attend the Summit, visit www.connectkansas.org/summit.
For more information, visit www.connectkansas.org or contact Joe Monaco, Public Information Officer with the Kansas Department of Commerce, at (785) 296-3760 or firstname.lastname@example.org.