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Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska Awarded Nearly $500K to Boost Internet Connectivity

Aug 03, 2023

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TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly announced today that a $498,000 broadband grant has been awarded to the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska to enhance public Wi-Fi services at community hubs and replace outdated equipment. It will also establish a technology learning center for staff and Tribal members, promoting digital inclusion through educational and workforce opportunities, public health, and economic development. 

“This grant represents a significant step forward in our efforts to provide communities with the modern digital tools they need to thrive,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “This funding will continue to propel the state and the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska forward, ensuring that all Kansans can fully participate in the global economy.” 

Funds are from the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program (TBCP) and made available through the federal Internet for All initiative and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska is one of eight tribes to receive funding from the available $3.9 million. TBCP aims to connect underserved Tribal communities with affordable, high-speed internet service, empowering them to work, learn, and access critical services. 

“While the internet is used to access crucial resources such as educational and workforce opportunities, business software, virtual learning, and health care, access to broadband has historically been a struggle on Tribal lands,” said U.S. Representative Sharice Davids, District 3 of Kansas. “This new federal investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will help close the digital divide for Tribal communities, helping to ensure folks who live on the reservation have just as much access to high-speed internet as other Americans.” 

Since its inception, the TBCP has awarded more than $1.78 billion to 191 Tribal entities across the country, marking record investments in high-speed internet deployment. It ensures equitable distribution of grant dollars in recognition of the federal Indian trust responsibility and fiduciary obligation to Tribal governments.   

“From updated equipment and enhanced broadband infrastructure to the technology learning center for Tribal members and staff, this grant will enhance broadband access for the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska,” Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland said. “Through partnering with providers and leveraging federal funds, we will continue our work to get more Kansas communities connected to the economy of the future.”

“This grant will greatly assist Chairman Rhodd in beginning to address the unique challenges he has in serving his community,” said Jancita Warrington, Executive Director of the Kansas Native American Affairs Commission. “I appreciate the dedication and commitment Director Piros de Carvalho and the Kansas Office of Broadband Development have made in traveling throughout the state of Kansas to meet with leaders to better understand the challenges of all communities.”