WTC awarded broadband grant to bring fiber to rural Kansas
Wamego, KS, 07-11-2022 - Parts of rural Southwest Pottawatomie and rural Southeast Riley counties will no longer be on the wrong side of the digital divide.
Kansas Governor Laura Kelly recently announced WTC as one of 11 recipients of grants that will result in more than $10 million in investment funding to build high-speed fiber Internet access across 10 communities in Kansas. These grants come via the Broadband Acceleration Grant Program (BAG) funded through the Kansas Department of Transportation.
WTC, based in Wamego, is well poised for the program following a successful BAG application in 2021 in which they built Fiber-to-the-Premise (FTTP) technology to 190 homes and small businesses in rural Riley County. The new award will see WTC receiving $470,000 in State funding. Following WTC’s investment, the total cost to build fiber to 141 new locations will be $940,000. The funding covers two projects, one in the Deep Creek area of Southeast Riley County and one close to Tuttle Creek Reservoir in Southwest Pottawatomie County.
(Visuals of grant coverage areas)
“The struggles of working from home with a poor Internet connection are challenging. Team meetings and online trainings are extremely difficult and almost impossible to do because of our current Internet service. We will either get knocked off during a training or it will just buffer,” commented Barbara Walter, a remote worker in one of the funded areas. “I can only imagine what it would be like if we had adequate Internet available,” she added.
“Today’s society is becoming increasingly dependent upon the Internet. With the growing number of people working and being educated remotely, having fast reliable Internet is paramount to a successful community and society,” stated Terry Morrand, a community member in one of the project areas. “These services would allow our residents the access they need to receive telemedicine services, to take advantage of distance learning, and to benefit from the services that a truly adequate Internet connection can provide,” he added.
“As we worked through the grant application process, the support we received from the community members was tremendous. To see their reaction to this opportunity shows an incredible amount of community commitment,” stated Jeff Wick, General Manager of WTC. “WTC understands the challenges of delivering advanced communication services in today's connected environment, so having the opportunity to bring fiber to these underserved areas of the state is extremely exciting and rewarding for us,” Wick added.
WTC crews will begin preliminary work this summer and the projects will be completed no later than October 2023.
WTC is headquartered in Wamego (KS) and provides a full line of Voice, Internet, and Video services to residential, governmental, educational, and commercial clients. For more information about WTC, please visit www.wtcks.com or call 785-456-1000.