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Governor Kelly Announces More than $8M to be Invested in Digital Opportunities

Apr 09, 2024

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TOPEKA – 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.

“Providing Kansans with the digital resources they need will strengthen our state,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “The approval of the Kansas Digital Equity Plan marks a significant milestone in our commitment to closing technology gaps and knocking down barriers to affordable, accessible high-speed internet in every corner of the state.”

Initially introduced last October, the DE Plan received public comment and underwent thorough reviews with federal funding partners at the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications Information and Administration (NTIA) office. With this approval and funding from the NTIA’s Digital Equity Capacity Grant Program, the Kansas Office of Broadband Development (KOBD) will begin implementing strategies outlined in the plan to enhance digital opportunity statewide.

The DE Plan reflects a comprehensive strategy that includes digital skills training, affordable service plans, and access to broadband-ready devices. It also highlights the impact of technology in critical areas such as health care, education, and civic engagement.

“By expanding access to devices and digital skills training, we will open new economic opportunities for people and businesses across Kansas,” Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland said. “Our state is ready to unlock the potential of every Kansan and each community so they can prosper in the digital economy.”

The data used to determine each state’s funding allocations included the total population, the number of individuals in covered populations, and measures relating to the comparative lack of availability and adoption of broadband.

“We know that many Kansans experience barriers to full participation in the digital economy,” said Jade Piros de Carvalho, Director of the Kansas Office of Broadband Development. “The approval of this plan confirms our commitment to providing equal opportunities to residents by addressing factors that might be limiting broadband access and adoption.”

The DE Plan’s approval is a significant step toward achieving universal access to online education, employment, health care and telemedicine, and social services. It aligns with the broader vision outlined in the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) Five-Year Action Plan.

“Today, Kansas is taking a major step toward closing the digital divide,” Angela Thi Bennett, Director of Digital Equity at NTIA, said. “The state’s digital equity plan will make certain everyone in Kansas possesses the digital skills, tools, and capacity to thrive.”

To access the Kansas Digital Equity Plan, click here.


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