Grants awarded to improve broadband access in Midwest

The latest grants awarded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act went to Colorado-based Level 3 EON and Oklahoma-based Totah Communications to improve the availability of high-speed internet access in Southeast and South-Central Kansas.

Level 3 EON received $998,400 from the grant, while Totah received $8.5 million. The broadband improvements are expected to help 50,000 households and nearly 4,000 businesses obtain high-speed internet that is currently unavailable or unaffordable in the area.

“We’re excited that Level 3 EON and Totah Communications have been awarded this Recovery Act funding to expand high-speed internet in Kansas,” said Kansas Secretary of Commerce Bill Thornton. “Through projects like this, we’ll continue to foster economic growth and sustainability in our rural communities while also increasing the overall quality-of-life for our rural citizens.”

In recent months since the first wave of funding from the ARRA was awarded, Kansas has improved its available internet access. Now more than 96 percent of Kansas can access the internet, but for many rural communities the cost is too prohibitive. The most recent grants are likely to bring the cost down along with improving the quality of the service, according to ConnectKansas.org.

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