ow important is internet access? To say that we cannot live without it may be a stretch, but not a big one. Given the proliferation of devices connected to the internet today, much of the technology that drives modern life now resides on a server somewhere.
Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly understands this better than most, which is why she’s made expanding broadband access a touchstone of her administration. On November 4, she announced that $15.7 million would be awarded to seven service providers that will bring high-speed broadband service to underserved communities in her state. The funding is the first of three rounds of awards from the Kansas Capital Projects Funds Broadband Grant Program. Because of it, more than 1,900 homes, businesses, schools, healthcare facilities and other public institutions will gain access to fast and reliable internet service over the next 24 months.
Solving the “last mile” of broadband connectivity is a challenge in remote and rural areas of every state, but Kelly has made it her mission to see that no community in Kansas is left behind. “By connecting nearly 2,000 Kansas homes, businesses and schools to high-speed internet, we’re continuing to deliver on our goal of giving every Kansan a connection to the world,” the governor said. “We’ve made substantial progress throughout my administration, and this funding knocks down another barrier to ensuring communities across the entire state have broadband access.”
“We are at 58,000 new households and businesses connected already in the Kelly Administration, and we will not stop until every Kansas resident has the connectivity needed to compete in the digital economy.”
— Kansas Lt. Gov. and Secretary of Commerce David Toland
Kansas was one of the first eight states to be awarded funding for this program under the American Rescue Plan Act and was allocated $83.5 million. “We are at 58,000 new households and businesses connected already in the Kelly Administration, and we will not stop until every Kansas resident has the connectivity needed to compete in the digital economy,” said Lt. Gov. and Secretary of Commerce David Toland.
Where Kansas Ranks
Thanks largely to these and other investments, Kansas today ranks No. 21 among all U.S. states with 76% of its people having access to 1GB broadband, according to BroadbandNow.com. Around 85% of all households in Kansas currently have access to the internet — and 85% of those have broadband connectivity.
In the overall ranking of internet coverage, speed and availability, BroadbandNow currently ranks Kansas 36th in the country; and Kansas ranks 39th among all states with 87% of people having access to 100Mbps broadband.
The Most Connected Places
The most connected counties in Kansas are Graham and Russell, with each having 100% access to 100 Mbps coverage. The counties of Ellis, Wyandotte, Osborne and Trego rank just behind the top two with more than 99.5% coverage in each.
The cities with the highest average download speeds in Kansas are Leawood (1,199 Mbps), Prairie Village (1,090 Mbps), Merriam (902 Mbps) and Derby (885 Mbps), according to HighSpeedInternet.com.
The service providers offering the highest internet connection speeds in Kansas, according to HighSpeedInternet, are AT&T, Cox, Xfinity, Earthlink, Synergy, Spectrum, Google Fiber, EIN and Kwikom. There are 68 options altogether for internet service in Kansas, with the largest providers being AT&T, Spectrum and Cox.
For more information and maps on broadband connectivity in specific locations in Kansas, contact the Kansas Office of Broadband Development in Topeka at email@example.com.
Ron Starner is Executive Vice President of Conway Data, Inc. He has been with Conway Data for 22 years and serves as a writer and editor for both Site Selection and the company's Custom Content publishing division. His Twitter handle is @RonStarner.