Skip Navigation


Governor Kelly Celebrates 2023 Exporter of the Year: Tank Connection Governor Laura Kelly visited Tank Connection in Parsons today to officially honor the company for being named the 2023 Governor’s Exporter of the Year. Tank Connection, a global leader in dry bulk and liquid storage systems, exports to 64 countries across six continents. Governor Kelly Announces More than $8M to be Invested in Digital Opportunities Governor Laura Kelly announced today that Kansas is receiving $8.2 million to begin implementing the Kansas Digital Equity (DE) Plan, which recently received federal approval. This announcement solidifies the state’s commitment to transform the landscape of high-speed internet connectivity and digital opportunity across Kansas. Nominations Open for 2024 Minority, Women Enterprise Development Awards Today Lieutenant Governor and Department of Commerce Secretary David Toland announced a call for nominations for the 2024 Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week Awards. These annual awards are one way the agency acknowledges and observes the growing impact that minority- and women-led companies have on their communities and the Kansas economy. Governor Kelly Announces KMW to Invest $105M in Sterling, Create 251 New Jobs in Kansas Governor Laura Kelly today announced that KMW, a precision manufacturer of agricultural front loaders, backhoes, and other attachments, will invest $105 million to construct a new North American headquarters and state-of-the-art production facility in Sterling. The venture will create 251 new jobs, resulting in a local workforce of 485. View All


Business Regions Made in Kansas Our Department Publications Initiatives & Incentives Transparency Database About Us Notices Contact

Kansas awarded nearly $1 million from USDA to assist with rural digital divide

Feb 21, 2024

Share this post:

TOPEKA – The Kansas Office of Broadband Development (KOBD) has been awarded nearly $1 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service through its new Broadband Technical Assistance (BTA) grant program. The $997,000 grant will fund pre-engineering design studies in six rural Kansas counties to help reduce costs and identify avoidable barriers as broadband is deployed there.

“Access to broadband is crucial for the economic growth of our rural communities,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “This initiative demonstrates my administration’s commitment to expanding quality, affordable high-speed internet and creating opportunities for Kansans in every county of the state.”

The high cost of bringing broadband infrastructure to rural Kansas has long been a challenge to internet service providers. The distances, coupled with unique topographical challenges such as bedrock formations, have made broadband deployment economically unfeasible despite existing state and federal funding initiatives.

“KOBD’s plan aligns with our broader vision for economic development,” Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland said. “By identifying and removing barriers, we can continue to empower rural communities to utilize resources for sustainable solutions.”

The BTA grant will produce plans to address broadband deployment hurdles in six selected counties: Gove, Kearny, Kiowa, Linn, Rawlins and Wilson. These counties, situated far from urban centers, face significant challenges in achieving reliable and affordable broadband services. To develop a roadmap for future broadband deployment, the studies will analyze population density, topography, and various census data.

KOBD, along with Rural Utility Service staff, will then partner with local governments to understand and analyze the results of these studies, develop mitigation strategies, and identify next steps for effective broadband deployment, including use of federal and state funding sources.

“High-speed internet and reliable infrastructure will make it possible for rural Kansans to live and work in the communities they love,” USDA Kansas State Director for Rural Development Christy Davis said.

“The digital divide is especially persistent in highly rural counties,” Broadband Director Jade Piros de Carvalho said. “This grant will assist with addressing some of the concerns providers face in bringing high-speed internet to sparsely populated areas of the state.”

KOBD’s commitment to partnering with local communities, pre-engineering design consultants and federal agencies aligns with the shared vison to use a collaborative approach to finding solutions for rural broadband challenges. This initiative is one step toward creating a more connected and economically empowered Kansas.