Rural Telephone Service Co. and its wholly owned subsidiary, Nex-Tech, has been awarded more than $101 million in Recovery Act funding for broadband Internet infrastructure improvements in central and western Kansas, officials announced this week.
The Lenora-based telecommunications cooperative and its Hays-based subsidiary will receive a grant of $49,588,807 and a loan of $51,612,842 that will enable the development of broadband services in a 4,600 square-mile region of Kansas that’s 99.5 percent unserved or underserved. The region includes Decatur, Ellis, Gove, Graham, Norton, Osborne, Phillips, Rooks, Sheridan, Smith and Trego counties.
The funding comes from the Broadband Initiatives Program, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service as part of the federal Recovery Act of 2009. BIP makes loans and grants to Internet service providers for rural broadband infrastructure projects to expand the economy, create jobs and improve citizens’ access to education and healthcare services.
“Rural Telephone submitted an outstanding proposal, and we’re excited that they’ve been awarded this Recovery Act funding to expand high-speed Internet in rural Kansas,” said Kansas Secretary of Commerce Bill Thornton. “Through projects like this, we will continue to foster economic growth and sustainability in our rural communities while also increasing the overall quality-of-life for our rural citizens.”
In all, the USDA this week announced broadband projects totaling $309,923,352 in 11 states. For the complete USDA news release, visit www.usda.gov/newsroom.
Rural Telephone Service Co., Inc. is a Kansas cooperative and leader in the telecommunications industry since 1951. Nex-Tech is a subsidiary of Rural Telephone and provides a full line of voice and data services to residential, government, education and commercial clients. In addition to its Competitive Local Exchange Carrier services, Nex-Tech provides a host of other services, including long distance, VoIP, Internet, home security and cable TV.
The Kansas Department of Commerce last year unveiled the Connect Kansas Initiative to increase high-speed Internet access in rural Kansas. Connect Kansas is funded primarily by the federal Recovery Act, which has designated more than $7.2 billion for states to increase rural high-speed Internet access. So far, Kansas is one of just two states to receive more than $100 million in federal broadband funding. Visit www.KansasCommerce.com/ConnectKansas for details.
For details on Rural Telephone’s plans for expanding broadband Internet access in rural Kansas, contact Rural Telephone CEO/General Manager Larry Sevier at (785) 567-4281.
For details on state and federal broadband infrastructure programs, contact Joe Monaco, Public Information Officer with the Kansas Department of Commerce, at (785) 296-3760 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Public Information Officer
Kansas Department of Commerce
1000 S.W. Jackson St., Suite 100
Topeka, KS 66612