The Kansas Office of Broadband Development debuted a new certification on Thursday for communities working to improve high-speed internet access throughout the state.
In earning the Kansas Broadband Ready Communities designation, communities will be prepared to make competitive bids for service and future grant opportunities, according to a press release from Gov. Laura Kelly’s office.
“Participation in the Kansas Broadband Ready Communities program spurs internet access improvements and builds resilient, future-ready communities,” Kelly said in the release. “A Broadband Ready Community designation signifies that a local government has taken steps toward economic growth, educational opportunities and improved quality of life for its residents.”
The Kansas broadband office anticipates that the certification will help address broadband access challenges in unserved and underserved areas in the state.
To obtain the certification, communities must adopt ordinances that align with the program’s minimum requirements, which include committing to a 30-day review process, ensuring reasonable filing fees and using electronic filing systems, among other provisions.
By meeting the program’s minimum requirements, communities should be prepared to apply for upcoming grant opportunities through programs such as the $451 million the state received through the federal Broadband Equity Access and Deployment program.
“KRBC will help communities understand how best to limit barriers to broadband infrastructure projects,” Jade Piros de Carvalho, director of the Kansas broadband office, said in a release. “I urge communities to seek out this certification to support their ability to attract investment into the critical connectivity they need to thrive.”
The state broadband office plans to host an informational webinar on Feb. 8 at 11 a.m. CST for more information on the program.