Governor Laura Kelly (D) (seen above) recently highlighted 11 recipients of $10 million in total funds via the state’s Broadband Acceleration Grant program to make high-speed broadband access available across 10 rural counties.
[Above photo via the Kansas Governor’s Office]
Launched in 2020, the Broadband Acceleration Grant is a 10-year $85 million program funded via the Kansas Department of Transportation’s Eisenhower Legacy Transportation or IKE program. This broadband expansion program – administered by the Kansas Office of Broadband Development – has awarded $70 million in grants since 2020.
“We’re continuing to deliver on our bold and ambitious goal to make Kansas a top 10 state for broadband access by 2030,” Gov. Kelly said in a statement. “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.”
“Broadband infrastructure is as critical to the well-being of Kansans as are safe roads, bridges, and drinking water,” added Julie Lorenz, secretary of the Kansas DOT. “These IKE-funded grants, when combined with [federal] broadband funding opportunities enable Kansas to strategically and efficiently expand quality broadband infrastructure throughout our state.”
These recent state-level broadband investments in Kansas come on the heels of a new national program launched by U.S. Department of Commerce on May 13 called the “Internet for All” initiative, which seeks to invest $45 billion to provide affordable, reliable, high-speed internet across America by the end of the decade.
Administered and implemented by the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the initiative’s funds come from the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act or IIJA, enacted in November 2021.
The “Internet for All” initiative funds three separate programs with IIJA funding:
- Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment or BEAD Program($42.5 billion)
- Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program($1 billion)
- State Digital Equity Act programs($1.5 billion)
To participate in the BEAD Program, states and other eligible entities must submit a letter of intent and a planning funds budget, which will unlock $5 million in planning funds and allow states to begin creating their five-year action plan.
Each state will have direct support from dedicated NTIA staff through every step of the process and a guaranteed minimum allocation of $100 million, with additional funding determinations made based on the forthcoming coverage maps from the Federal Communications Commission.