TOPEKA – The state of Kansas is receiving seven multi-million-dollar grants from the Federal Communications Commission to help expand broadband coverage to rural areas.
The Connect America Fund (CAF), an FCC program, issued 103 grant awards to states with sizeable rural populations. Of those awards, seven are being awarded to Kansas, totaling $4.7 million.
According to Stanley Adams, Director of Broadband Initiatives for the Kansas Department of Commerce, access to high-speed broadband internet will change the lives of many rural Kansans.
“For rural Kansans who don’t have access to high-speed broadband, it means a lot” Adams said. “It means they’ll be able to participate in the digital economy, which is vital for just about every facet of modern life.”
The quality of the broadband being delivered to rural Kansas areas will be high-speed across the board. Every new connection will be, at the very least, 25/3 megabits per second (25 megabits per second download, three per second upload), which is the minimum standard requirement for a connection to be considered “high-sped.” Up to half of the new connections will be 100 megabits per second.
This will be a significant change for rural Kansans, because as of now, according to the FCC, one out of three rural Kansans lacks access to adequate broadband. Adams said that this change is necessary to bring them into the modern digital age.
“I remember, when I was a kid, having a calculator was a big deal,” Adams said. “Now, for kids going to school, the internet is a must. We want to make sure that people in rural areas have the same opportunities as everyone else.”
Kansas Internet Service Providers who have been awarded are expected to implement new outreach for rural areas in the near future.