The push to make rural broadband more accessible

Local

DODGE CITY, Kan. (KSNW) – Internet, for many, it helps keep us connected. However, in several remote areas of Kansas, finding access to it can be difficult and expensive. As the demand has increased, there is now a push for Congress to provide funding for rural broadband.

In many areas of rural Kansas, internet access can be slim to none. For those that do have service, rural broadband has become essential, yet for some, it still isn’t accessible.

In the past few months, more Kansans have had to rely on broadband internet for work or school.

Bringing to light the digital divide between densely populated cities and rural towns.

“What we’ve learned in COVID-19 is that while that progress is being made, it is insufficient to meet the needs,” said Kansas State Senator Jerry Moran.

That reality has prompted local and state lawmakers to put pressure on Congress to provide funding for increased internet access across the state.

Something that internet company officials say is necessary.

“The cost per individual is so high that we could never charge enough to be able to recoup the cost without support,” said Customer Operations Manager at United Telephone, Jeff Renner. 

This funding would ensure that all Kansans have internet that can handle virtual schooling, work, and even healthcare. 

For some Kansas residents, there’s already a need for broadband internet.

“I rely on the internet for everything,” said Dodge City resident, Dan Stacy.

While the state does recognize the independent efforts of various companies to increase access by waiving late fees and even providing free or discounted rates, they argue that without congressional action, those efforts may not be sustainable long-term.

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