In a bid to connect rural communities to high-speed broadband services, Kansas will use $15.7 million in Federal funding to connect more than 1,900 homes, businesses, schools, healthcare facilities, and other public institutions to broadband in the next 24 months.

The announcement follows the Treasury Department approving the state’s Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund (CPF) broadband infrastructure plan. The Federal CPF program is a $10 billion initiative available to states, territories, and tribal governments under the American Rescue Plan Act to fund capital projects.

In a press release, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly noted that Kansas was one of the first eight states in the country approved for funding under this program and was allocated a total of $83.5 million. In Kansas, the CPF program opportunity resulted in 141 applications from providers requesting $693 million in funding support to build out broadband infrastructure across Kansas.

The governor’s office explained that this funding is intended to solve the “last mile” of broadband needed in critical areas. A press release notes that targeted counties have as few as five locations per square mile, which until now has prevented companies from investing the resources to deliver a quality broadband option. The CPF Grant Program provides the funding needed to implement high-speed broadband in these areas of the state.

“By connecting nearly 2,000 more Kansas homes, businesses, and schools to high-speed internet, we’re continuing to deliver on our goal of giving every Kansan a connection to the world,” Gov. Kelly said. “We’ve made substantial progress throughout my administration, and this funding knocks down another barrier to ensuring communities across the entire state have broadband access.”

Per the grant program’s guidelines, the selected service providers will provide partial matching dollars, bringing the total project amounts for the first round to $19,700,991. The state said that all 141 applications remain eligible for the next two rounds of funding.

“This is just the beginning of the work we’ll complete through the Capital Projects Fund,” said Jade Piros de Carvalho, director of the Office of Broadband Development. “Providers across the state have stepped up to partner with our office and the communities they serve to meet the needs of residents and businesses.”

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