TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) – Governor Laura Kelly signed Executive Order #20-67 on Thursday to establish the Office of Broadband Development and announced the distribution of nearly $50 million in Connectivity Emergency Response Grant (CERG) funds to underserved communities across Kansas.
By expanding access to broadband, the governor’s administration will support economic development opportunities, increase access to health care and education, and promote network affordability for Kansans statewide.
“Broadband access has been an overlooked problem in Kansas and across the country for years, particularly in our rural and vulnerable communities,” Governor Kelly said. “Today’s announcements mark a significant step forward in my administration’s commitment to achieving the universal broadband coverage that will make our state’s communities competitive economically, healthier, and improve educational access.”
The Office of Broadband Development will be housed in the Kansas Department of Commerce and led by Stanley Adams, current Director of Broadband Initiatives for the Department of Commerce.
The Office of Broadband Development will:
- Evaluate and report annually on the extent, quality, and affordability of broadband offerings in Kansas;
- Develop strategies to facilitate construction of broadband infrastructure necessary to achieve functionally universal broadband access for Kansas homes and businesses;
- And develop and advocate for policies that make high-quality broadband service more accessible, affordable, and reliable in underserved and vulnerable communities.
Lieutenant Governor Lynn Rogers joined in the announcement Thursday to highlight its importance for Kansas’ rural and agricultural communities.
E.O. #20-67 is effective immediately and shall remain in force until rescinded.
Governor Kelly also announced Thursday that 67 projects were awarded a share of nearly $50 million for broadband infrastructure improvements. The projects are funded through the Coronavirus Relief Fund of the federal CARES Act and are part of the connectivity program approved by the Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas (SPARK) Taskforce and the State Finance Council.
To view Executive Order No. 20-67, click here.
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