Community Connect program offers broadband grants

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development agency is now taking applications for Community Connect Grant Program for Fiscal Year 2021. Applications are due December 23. 

Community Connect grants are available to rural, economically challenged areas that lack existing broadband speed of at least 10 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps upstream. Grant funds may be used for the construction, acquisition or leasing of facilities, spectrum, land or buildings used to extend broadband service to “critical community facilities” such as public schools, public libraries and fire stations as well as residential and business customers in the proposed service area. Partnerships with federal, state, local, private, and non-profit entities are encouraged. 

You can read more about the Community Connect grants program here 

Application information is here. 

More than 156,000 Kansas students — about one-third of those enrolled in K-12 schools lack adequate access to broadband internet service. KASB supports affordable broadband service for Kansas students, families, and schools.  

Gov. Laura Kelly recently announced plans to increase high speed internet access across Kansas, saying it was needed to improve education, economic development, and health care. Kelly also established the Office of Broadband Development in the Kansas Department of Commerce.  

KASB President Lori C. Blake issued a statement applauding the Kelly administration’s efforts and noted this important work will take a continued and concerted effort by many dedicated Kansans. 

The Kansas Association of School Boards stands ready to work with our state and federal lawmakers and fellow Kansas stakeholders to ensure universal access to broadband to support a bright future for our students and our state,” Blake said. 

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