By the Kansas Office of the Governor
TOPEKA, Kan. — Governor Laura Kelly today announced the Kansas Digital Equity (DE) Plan for high-speed internet connectivity is available for public review and comment. While the recently announced Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) Five-Year Action Plan outlines the state’s plan to provide access to high-speed internet, the Digital Equity Plan focuses on specifically connecting users.
The DE Plan outlines digital skills training, affordable service plans, and the availability of broadband-ready devices as top priorities. Additionally, the plan emphasizes technology’s positive effect on various areas of everyday life, such as health care, education, and civic engagement.
“Digital equity empowers Kansans with the tools they need to succeed in the modern world,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “The release of the Digital Equity Plan marks a significant milestone in our commitment to closing technology gaps. I urge everyone to participate in the public comment process.”
The DE Plan represents a significant step towards achieving the state’s vision of universal access to education, health care, employment, social services, and participation in the digital economy. The plan outlines how every Kansan can utilize quality, affordable, and reliable broadband service.
“As Kansans, we embrace challenges with determination and innovation,” Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland said. “At its core, this plan supports economic development through the expansion of digital skills and access to new opportunities for individuals and businesses throughout the state.”
The vision and goals of the Digital Equity Plan were developed in consultation with the Digital Equity Advisory Council, representing various organizations and leaders from across the state. The Council’s extensive outreach, research, collaboration, and public input were instrumental in shaping the plan.
Residents, community organizations, businesses, and local authorities from throughout Kansas are encouraged to participate in the public comment period for the DE Plan. The document adheres to National Telecommunications Information and Administration (NTIA) guidelines and includes a description of each requirement and attachments.
“Our vision of digital equity is grounded in the lived experiences of Kansans who face barriers to broadband access,” Director of the Kansas Office of Broadband Development Jade Piros de Carvalho said. “Through thoughtful planning and collaboration, we are committed to providing equitable opportunities to all our residents.”
The Digital Equity Plan is the second of four primary documents focused on accessing and deploying federal funding, building upon the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) Five-Year Action Plan (FYAP). The public comment period will be open until November 2, 2023. To add a comment or to get more information about the plan, click here.
The Office of Broadband Development will have a webinar on the importance of public comments for the DE Plan from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 3. To register, click here.