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Editorial: Kansas Steps Up Access to Broadband

The following was published by on August 16, 2020.

We use it to conduct business, stay connected and informed, do schoolwork, pay bills and, yes, occasionally entertain ourselves.

There’s no avoiding it: Use of the Internet is no longer a luxury but rather a necessity of daily life.

It’s a critical tool, even more so in a world of social distancing. However, not everyone in the sunflower state is connected to the web.

The Kansas Broadband Map, released last year by the nonprofit Connected Nation, showed that 3.5% of the state’s population, or 90,000 residents, lack internet access. This is a real problem especially in the more rural parts of our state.

In our view, no Kansan should be denied access to this tool.

So imagine for a second a Kansas with a better connection. Could that mean more business through e-commerce? Better access to health care through telehealth? Faster surfing speeds making learning about that actor, coach or politician come quicker? Less lag on video calls or streaming services? It’s an emphatic yes.

And it’s no longer theoretical. We’re heading that way.

Last week, the state’s Finance Council approved the use of $60 million in grants to build up the Kansas’ broadband infrastructure.

The money, Andrew Bahl reported, will come from the state’s allotment of federal CARES Act funding and will be funneled out in two separate grant programs. One, a $50 million pot, will aim to bolster internet speeds in underserved areas, while the remaining $10 million is designed to specifically help low-income residents.Earn Box Tops with Annie's™!Ad By Annie's See More

It’s about time we as a state invested in our state’s broadband.

Read the full editorial and learn what some believe can help connect more families and businesses across Kansas.