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Governor Kelly Announces Nearly $15 Million Available to Connect Kansans to Digital Devices, Public Wi-Fi

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly
Kansas Governor Laura Kelly

Governor Laura Kelly has announced that applications are open for the Advancing Digital Opportunities to Promote Technology (ADOPT) program.

A total of $14.7 million in grant awards will be available to organizations addressing the challenges of broadband accessibility, affordability and device availability.

"Every Kansan deserves the opportunity and the resources to thrive in today's modern economy," Governor Laura Kelly said. "By increasing access to the internet through devices and public Wi-Fi, ADOPT is equipping Kansans with the tools necessary to participate and compete in our highly connected world."

More than 153,000 Kansans are without high-speed internet subscriptions because of barriers such as infrastructure limitations, affordability issues and lack of access to devices and technical support. The Kansas Office of Broadband Development (KOBD) is rolling out the comprehensive ADOPT program to combat these challenges.

"Expanding broadband access by bringing public Wi-Fi and digital devices to underserved areas will open doors to education, remote work, health care and more," Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland said. "This game-changing program ensures reliable access for those who need it most — which not only connects communities but fosters economic growth."

ADOPT is divided into two key categories: Equipment Distribution and Public Wi-Fi. The maximum individual award for Equipment Distribution is $500,000. Matching funds are encouraged but not required. For Public Wi-Fi, there is a 10 percent local match and awards are capped at $800,000.

For the Equipment Distribution program, KOBD will partner with entities capable of procuring, distributing, managing and maintaining devices. Devices will be provided to individuals lacking the means to connect to the internet. The program emphasizes long-term loans for computers, laptops and tablets, ensuring sustained access for qualifying individuals.

The Public Wi-Fi program will form partnerships to deliver solutions in unserved or underserved public spaces. The goal is to bring affordable and reliable internet services to areas lacking access.

The program is a pioneering effort to achieve the strategic goals outlined in the Digital Equity Plan, signaling a more connected and equitable future for all Kansans.

"This program is a strategic initiative aligning with our Digital Equity Plan," Broadband Development Director Jade Piros de Carvalho said. "By addressing device and connectivity gaps, we are laying the foundation for a more economically diverse and connected Kansas."

The Kansas Office of Broadband Development said the ADOPT program is a testament to the state's commitment to digital inclusion, offering a pathway for economic development, education, jobs and health care.

To learn more about the entities eligible to apply, click here. To register for the webinar scheduled for 1 to 2 PM on Thursday, December 7, click here. The application window will be open for seven weeks.

(Information courtesy Office of the Governor.)