State takes step toward broadband internet grant program

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) – Lawmakers in the Kansas House took a step forward in providing broadband internet access for the state on Wednesday.

The proposed bill would create a state broadband grant program, headed by the Kansas Department of Commerce, that would help Kansas communities get the funding needed to expand internet access to their area.

Cities and counties could submit an application explaining their need for internet access. Applications would also include the number of people impacted, as well as the estimated time and cost to complete the project. The community must be able to fund at least 50% of the cost of the project, the state will then match that amount. The funding for the grants will come from taxpayer money, the State General Fund as well as federal grants.

“It is my intention to get as many people connected to do their basic service,” said Representative Joe Seiwert, R-Pretty Prairie. “Their benefits, social security, Medicare, whatever you need to do that you need internet service to do.”

Representative Seiwert adds that the goal of the program is to get basic internet access to all Kansans.

The bill had strong support in the House and passed favorably. It will now move on to the Senate for discussion and a vote.

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