Kansas is the first state to receive $15 million in U.S. Dept. of Treasury Digital Connectivity Technology (DCT) funds. The money will support equal access to high-speed internet, provide devices to underserved Kansans, and expand digital skills training for communities across Kansas.  

“It’s not enough to expand high-speed internet across Kansas – we must also show Kansans of all ages and backgrounds how to make the internet a useful tool in their everyday lives,” Gov. Laura Kelly said. “These funds will provide the devices and skills training to help every Kansan benefit from our investments to make high-speed internet available in their local communities.”   

Kelly was the first governor in the country to recognize the need to design a program that offers free computers and free public Wi-Fi to underserved Kansans with these funds. 

DCT is made available under the American Rescue Act Capital Projects Fund (CPF). States have the option to put all CPF dollars toward broadband infrastructure or to set aside some of the funding for programs that ensure broadband is more fully accessible to hard-to-reach communities.  

“By supporting underserved communities and focusing exclusively on equal access to digital technologies with these funds, we will continue to address the specific challenges our communities face,” Lt. Gov. and Secretary of Commerce David Toland said. “This is critical as we work toward Gov. Kelly’s goal of getting every Kansan who wants access connected by 2030.” 

The Office of Broadband Development has been conducting meetings across the state to solicit feedback for a five-year broadband access and digital equity strategic plan. These listening sessions have also highlighted the need for laptops/computers, public wi-fi, and digital training programs.  

A full list of scheduled public engagement sessions and additional dates and locations, can be found at https://bit.ly/42uQLMS. More info about federal broadband efforts is available at AffordableConnectivity.gov and InternetforAll.gov.

The digital divide is real. While most people have a cell phone, truly functional digital access requires much more than a phone. 

People need internet for education, telehealth, job searches and more and a cell phone isn’t the best way to access the internet for these devices. Some of us don’t know how to use the internet as a useful tool in our everyday lives. 

How can the State of Kansas best use the $15 million they’re receiving from the American Rescue Act Capital Projects Funds to help close this divide?

That’s what they want to hear from you during their Broadband Roadshow listening trip across the state.

Plan to attend and share your thoughts about how best to close the digital divide in your community.  

Here are the listening sessions planned in some of the state’s major cities.  

Topeka, March 22, 5:30 – 7 p.m., Washburn Tech East, 2014 SE Washington St.

Wichita, March 23, 5:30 – 7 p.m., Evergreen Community Center and Library, 2601 N Arkansas  

Kansas City, April 11, 3:30 – 5 p.m., KCPS Central Office & Training Center, Room 131, 2010 N. 59th St.

Olathe, April 13, 5 – 7 p.m., Olathe Community Center, 1205 E Kansas City Rd.

African American family time computer internet stock photo