Broadband service is widely recognized as one of the essential tools a community must have to bolster its economic prosperity and ensure its vitality. Access to broadband enables the delivery of enhanced education, healthcare and emergency services. It also supports technologies and applications that facilitate business growth and economic development.
The Kansas Statewide Broadband Initiative is designed to raise awareness of the vital role the adoption of broadband and the use of the internet plays in fostering prosperous businesses and vibrant communities in Kansas. The Initiative is designed to achieve the following goals:
- Create an in-depth understanding of our broadband footprint in Kansas
- Identify impediments to economic prosperity that technology will help solve
- Provide assistance in the form of education and expertise to businesses seeking to expand their markets, lower their costs, and gain access to skilled workers by using the internet
- Help people in un-served and underserved areas connect with carriers who can help them get coverage
- Increase awareness about the ways the technology is evolving and why community and businesses leaders should care
The first phase of the Initiative collected baseline data that identified broadband assets, usage patterns and internet adoption rates, as well as gaps in coverage and speed. This data has been consolidated into a map of Kansas depicting areas of the state that are served, under-served and un-served by broadband. The initial map and research was completed in partnership with Connected Nation under the Connect Kansas banner and was funded by a grant through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.
As the Broadband Initiative’s attention turns to technical assistance and planning for communities and businesses, the data and mapping efforts move from the main event to a supporting role. The Kansas Geological Survey at the University of Kansas is ensuring that new data is collected, analyzed and presented on an updated map every six months.