Kansas Announces $3.9M Digital Equity Grants

The money will fund public Wi-Fi and device distribution programs.

Kansas Announces $3.9M Digital Equity Grants
Photo of Kansas State Capitol

June 11, 2024 – Kansas awarded seven organizations a combined $3.9 million in Advancing Digital Opportunities to Promote Technology grants, announced Gov. Laura Kelly June 4.

The ADOPT program is Kansas’s digital equity program as outlined by the state’s Digital Equity Plan. It is designed to tackle the challenges of digital accessibility, affordability, and availability. It focuses on funding public Wi-Fi solutions and device availability programs.

“Kansans rely on technology for work, school, health care, and connecting to each other,” Kelly said. “The ADOPT grants support community organizations in our shared mission to connect more people to the internet and critical digital skills.”

An additional round of funding for the program will open later this year, making an additional $10.4 million available for programs that improve community and public Wi-Fi and provide access to the necessary devices.

Among awardees are the Wichita Library Foundation, Cunningham Communications, Mokan Communications, Kansas State University, and Kansas City Kansas Community College. 

“These awards will enhance internet access to economically distressed households and communities,” Director of Broadband Development Jade Piros de Carvalho said. “With this investment, Kansas continues to amplify digital opportunities across the state.”

ADOPT was launched in November with a total of $14.7 million in grant awards. More than 153,000 Kansans are without high-speed internet subscriptions because of barriers such as infrastructure limitations, affordability issues, and lack of access to devices and technical support. 

The maximum individual award for equipment distribution is $500,000 where matching funds are encouraged but not required. For public Wi-Fi, there is a 10 percent match with awards capped at $800,000.

Kansas received approval of its volume two of the Broadband, Equity, Access, and Deployment proposal in April. With both volumes given the go ahead from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, Kansas began requesting allocations from the $42.5-billion program and will have one year to award subgrants for expanding broadband infrastructure.

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