LENORA – In a press conference on Thursday, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly announced that Nex-Tech was awarded a Broadband Acceleration Grant (BAG) from the Kansas Department of Commerce.
The Lenora-based technology company will receive grant funding of almost $875,000 that will enable the development of broadband services in the town of Bird City, and approximately a five mile perimeter from the town in the rural areas. The total project cost is $1.75 million, with Nex-Tech funding the additional $875,000.
Fiber-to-the-premise will be deployed to the Bird City businesses with symmetrical Internet connections up to Gigabit speeds. Fixed wireless will be deployed to the residential areas of Bird City, including the rural areas of Bird City, which will provide Internet speeds from 25 Mbps up to 100 Mbps.
The Kansas Office of Broadband Development was established to help ensure all Kansans have the opportunity to live, work, learn and compete in a global economy by improving universal access to quality, affordable and reliable broadband.
In 2020, Kelly enacted a bill to fund $85 million for broadband expansion over the next 10 years to be administered by the Department of Commerce through the Office of Broadband Development. This state-funded grant program will allot $5 million annually for the first three years and $10 million annually for the next seven years.
The Broadband Acceleration Grant program is designed to fund projects that facilitate access to high-quality Internet service to Kansas homes, businesses and communities. The need for access to critical broadband infrastructure has been significantly magnified in 2020. From consumer-facing connectivity needs, to digital and remote learning, telehealth services, online commerce transactions and e-government shifts, compelling need exists in many areas of Kansas, company officials said.
Specific areas that lack broadband coverage (unserved); areas that lack quality, reliable access to ﬁxed terrestrial broadband; and areas deemed economically distressed by the state are priorities to address through this initial round of Broadband Acceleration Grants.
“We are extremely pleased to have received this grant funding to expand and improve Internet connectivity to customers in Bird City,” said Jimmy Todd, CEO and general manager of Nex-Tech. “We want to thank the many individuals, businesses and community leaders including The Greater Northwest Kansas Community Foundation who wrote letters of support for these projects.”
He also thanked the Bird City Century II Development Foundation and the Kansas Department of Commerce for working with Nex-Tech on this project.