Kansas has taken a significant stride towards improving statewide internet connectivity by allocating $28.5 million in grants through the Lasting Infrastructure and Network Connectivity (LINC) program. Aimed at bolstering broadband infrastructure, the LINC funding prioritizes achieving minimum speeds of 100/20 Mbps, enhancing internet exchange point facilities, and fortifying middle-mile infrastructure.

The major chunk of the grants, exceeding $22 million, is designated for broadband infrastructure to link more than 2,000 locations. Notably, KwiKom emerged as the top recipient, securing an award exceeding $4 million. Other beneficiaries in the infrastructure category include Haviland Broadband, IdeaTek, KanOklaNetworks, Mokan Dial, Nex-Tech, Prairie Band Pottawatomi Nation, Vyve, and WTC.

Connected Nation is set to receive $5 million for establishing the state’s inaugural carrier-neutral Internet Exchange Point. This facility will empower local and regional networks to directly exchange data traffic with each other, as well as with prominent cloud services and content networks such as Amazon, Netflix, Google, and Microsoft.

Cunningham Communication also secured a grant exclusively for middle-mile infrastructure development. When factoring in matching funds from service providers, the total investment in broadband through LINC is projected to surpass $33.9 million, aligning with Kansas’s aspiration to rank among the top 10 states for broadband.

The LINC initiative, open to ISPs, political subdivisions, tribal governments, cooperatives, and non-profit organizations, reflects the state’s commitment to addressing the widespread frustration regarding limited access to high-speed internet. Jade Piros de Carvalho, Broadband Development Director, emphasized the crucial role of robust internet connectivity in supporting remote work and precision agriculture.

Kansas’s recent broadband investments come on the heels of Governor Laura Kelly’s announcement of $5 million in awards through the state’s Broadband Acceleration Grants for 2023. The state is actively participating in the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program, with progress that places it among the top states advancing in this critical initiative, as per the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).