U.S. Sen. Moran upset with Kansas’ last place score for internet download speed

GOP senator urges federal agency to stay focused on broadband service

by Tim Carpenter, Kansas Reflector
May 28, 2023

TOPEKA — U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran urged the U.S. Department of Commerce to rely on accurate data to target federal funding at Kansas’ last-place ranking on average internet download speed.

The Kansas Republican said improving the state’s access to high-quality broadband would benefit up to 1 million Kansans, especially rural residents, who live without access to the kind of digital connections important for personal business, education and health.

Moran said in a letter to Gina Raimondo, secretary of the U.S. commerce department, a recent broadband quality study indicated Kansas was last in terms of average download speed and trailed by wide margins speeds available in Colorado, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Missouri.

Kansas ranked 51st among all states and the District of Columbia in download speed, which was among key determinants of quality broadband delivery.

It was important to Kansans, the senator said, because data-intensive consumer and business internet applications were undermined by mediocre download speeds.

“That means many Kansans will be poorer, sicker and less educated than their peers that have access to high-quality broadband,” Moran said. “A lot of work has been done to improve broadband in Kansas, but it is clear there is plenty of work left to do.”

Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly has emphasized broadband expansion in Kansas by targeting state and federal investments to improve connectivity. In early May, she directed $30 million in competitive funding through the Lasting Infrastructure and Network Connectivity program to add infrastructure useful for homes and businesses.

That goal of LINK was to reduce the cost of internet service, increase its availability and improve performance for users. Eligible entities include internet service providers, political subdivisions, tribal governments, cooperatives and non-profit organizations.

“Many have shared their frustration about a lack of access to high-speed internet that is crucial to remote work and precision agriculture, among other needs,” said Jade Piros de Carvalho, the state’s broadband development director.

In Moran’s letter to the U.S. commerce secretary, he recommended the federal government rely on accurate state-by-state data to allocate resources through the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment program.

The senator suggested the federal commerce department avoid subsidizing the overbuilding of broadband services developed by private companies and to maximize broadband provider participation by restraining regulatory burdens.

“Collectively,” Moran said, “these steps will help ensure the program avoids the missteps of prior broadband deployment programs and is successful in bridging the digital divide.”

Kansas Reflector is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Kansas Reflector maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Sherman Smith for questions: info@kansasreflector.com. Follow Kansas Reflector on Facebook and Twitter.

Derek Nester
Derek Nesterhttp://www.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 2020 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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