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Funding Announced To Expand Broadband Access In Rural Kansas

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Funding will Connect Nearly 2,000 Homes, Businesses, Schools to Internet

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TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly announced today $15.7 million will be awarded to seven service providers that will bring high-speed broadband service to underserved, economically distressed, and low-population areas of the state. This is the first of three rounds of awards from the Kansas Capital Project Funds (CPF) Broadband Grant Program. This phase of funding will connect more than 1,900 homes, businesses, schools, healthcare facilities, and other public institutions to fast, reliable internet in the next 24 months.

This funding aims to solve the “last mile” of broadband needed in critical areas. The targeted counties have as few as five locations per square mile, which until now has prevented companies from investing the resources to deliver a quality broadband option. The CPF Grant Program provides the funding needed to implement high-speed broadband in these areas of the state.

“By connecting nearly 2,000 more Kansas homes, businesses, and schools to high-speed internet, we’re continuing to deliver on our goal of giving every Kansan a connection to the world,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “We’ve made substantial progress throughout my administration, and this funding knocks down another barrier to ensuring communities across the entire state have broadband access.”

The new grant program results from the U.S. Department of Treasury’s approval of Kansas’ Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund (CPF) broadband infrastructure plan. The federal CPF program is a $10 billion initiative available to states, territories, and tribal governments under the American Rescue Plan Act to fund capital projects. Kansas was one of the first eight states in the country approved for funding under this program and was allocated $83.5 million. The CPF program opportunity resulted in 141 applications from providers requesting $693 million in funding support to build out broadband infrastructure across Kansas.

The service providers selected to deliver these last-mile connections will provide partial matching dollars, bringing the total project amount for the first round to $19,700,991. All 141 applications remain eligible for the next two rounds of funding.

“We are at 55,000 new households and businesses connected already in the Kelly Administration, and we will not stop until every Kansas resident has the connectivity needed to compete in the digital economy,” Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland.

“This is just the beginning of the work we’ll complete through the Capital Projects Fund,” said Jade Piros de Carvalho, Director of the Office of Broadband Development. “Providers across the state have stepped up to partner with our office and the communities they serve to meet the needs of residents and businesses.”

The first round of grant recipients include:

  • Craw-Kan Telephone Cooperative (Anderson and Allen counties) – $4,584,590 to connect 385 premises
  • Giant Communications (Jackson County) – $895,295 to connect 163 premises
  • MT Networks LLC (Coffey County) – $2,581,932 to connect 326 premises
  • Nex-Tech (Thomas County) – $541,320 to connect 64 premises
  • Pioneer Communications (Hamilton County) – $202,484 to connect 54 premises
  • S&A Telephone (Lyon County) – $3,746,870 to connect 421 premises
  • Totah Communications (Montgomery and Chautauqua counties) – $3,244,793 to connect 500 premises
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Derek Nester
Derek Nesterhttps://sunflowerstateradio.com
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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