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KU Report: Large Divide in Broadband Access in Kansas


LAWRENCE, Kan. (KNS) – A new report from the University of Kansas shows a continuing divide between rural and urban areas when it comes to broadband access. Residents of rural Kansas usually pay more money and get slower Internet speeds.

Donna Ginther is director of the KU Institute for Policy and Social Research. She says around one million Kansans live in places that lack access to high-speed broadband. “Repeatedly people would say, ‘I have to drive to town to go to the library or to go to McDonald’s to do my job or to do my schoolwork,’ even simple things like downloading a recipe from the internet,” she said.

Ginther says the private sector often doesn’t want to build into sparsely populated areas because it’s not as profitable.

Officials recently distributed nearly $50 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds to improve broadband access in Kansas. But KU researchers say the state still isn’t getting its share of federal money because federal maps undercount the number of people without access.