Kansas

Just days after the state of Kansas awarded $5 million for rural broadband builds, primarily to local providers, the state has awarded over $22.6 million more in funding for such builds. The new funding also will go primarily to local providers.

The broadband infrastructure funding was part of a total of $28.5 million that Kansas awarded yesterday, which also included funding for middle mile and internet exchange point deployments.

The funding came through the state’s Lasting Infrastructure and Network Connectivity (LINC) program. Awardees will contribute additional funding to help cover total project costs that are expected to exceed $33.9 million.

Rules for the LINC program require recipients of broadband infrastructure funding to deploy speeds of at least 100/20 Mbps. But although several technologies could meet that target, Kansas Broadband Director Jade Piros de Carvalho told Telecompetitor that all the new broadband infrastructure funding will go toward fiber broadband.

Of the nine providers that won broadband infrastructure funding, the eight largest were all smaller local providers. The local companies included five incumbent rural local exchange carriers (RLECs), two competitive providers and a native American tribe.

Both competitive providers (KwiKom and IdeaTek) and two of the RLECs (Haviland Broadband and WTC) also won awards announced earlier this week in the Kansas Broadband Acceleration Grant Program.

KwiKom and IdeaTek were the biggest and second biggest winners, respectively, in the broadband infrastructure category in the latest LINC awards. KwiKom will receive more than $4.2 million and IdeaTek will receive $3.9 million.

The only provider not focused primarily on Kansas that won funding in this round was Vyve Broadband – a rural broadband consolidator that operates in several states.

Middle Mile and Internet Exchange Awards

The middle mile LINC award went to local RLEC Cunningham and was for $847,774.

The single biggest award made in the new batch of LINC awards was a $5 million grant in the internet exchange provider category. That award went to nonprofit Connected Nation for the state’s first carrier-neutral internet exchange, which will be established on the Wichita State University campus. See our coverage about plans for the Connected Nation exchange in this post.

A complete list of the new LINC awards, including recipient, amount of funding and matching funds, and more can be found in this announcement.

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