Kansas receives nearly $5.7 million to expand broadband access

Governor Laura has announced Kansas has received nearly $5.7 million to expand broadband access, adoption, and affordability, from the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Office.

“Communities across the Kansas have enormous potential for a new chapter of innovation and success,” Gov. Laura Kelly said. “This funding will propel the state forward, accelerating our efforts to ensure all Kansans can fully participate in the digital world.”

The funds are part of the designated $65 billion as outlined in the federal bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed in 2021, dubbed the “Internet for All Initiative.”

“The Internet for All initiative will bridge the digital divide in Kansas and ensure rural areas have the service they need to access telehealth, education and jobs,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “I appreciate Governor Kelly’s commitment to connecting all Kansas homes and businesses to affordable, reliable high-speed Internet service.”

“Kansans use the internet to work, learn, keep in touch with family, grow a business, get health care, and more. While access to high-speed internet is a gateway to opportunity, that opportunity is not distributed equally in our state,” said Rep. Sharice David, D-3rd Dist.. “I’m proud to have voted for this new federal funding from the bipartisan infrastructure law that will help every Kansan thrive in the digital age.”

The Kansas Department of Commerce’s Office of Broadband Development (OBD) will use these funds in a variety of ways. Almost $5 million will be used to deploy the Broadband, Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) program that is part of the Internet for All Initiative. The remaining $692,000 will be used to deploy the first phase of NTIA’s Digital Equity Act.

“Broadband equity starts with access, but also includes adoption and application,” Lt. Gov. and Secretary of Commerce David Toland said. “The state is committed to providing capacity and resources to ensure everyone has the access and skills needed to benefit from digital technologies in their lives.”

OBD will engage with stakeholders across Kansas to develop both a five-year action plan and a Statewide Digital Equity Plan, which will provide direction and measures to assist in deployment of high-speed affordable and reliable internet to all Kansans. Both plans will be submitted to NTIA by August 2023.

The office will hold events at 25 to 30 locations around the state beginning in January. Special attention will be paid to groups and communities that are disproportionately impacted by digital inequity. These groups include low-income households, aging populations, people with disabilities or language barriers, racial and ethnic minorities, rural inhabitants, incarcerated individuals, and veterans.

“These planning dollars will allow our office the opportunity to connect and engage with all Kansans,” said Jade Piros de Carvalho, director of the Office of Broadband Development. “We will launch our planning efforts at our inaugural Kansas Broadband Summit on January 19 at Wichita State University. This event will be the first opportunity to connect with communities across Kansas and ask for partnership and support as we coordinate efforts to connect Kansans with high-speed, reliable internet access.”

All 50 U.S. states and six territories applied for planning grant funding from the Broadband, Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) program and the Digital Equity Act program. Grant awards for all 56 eligible entities will be announced on a rolling basis.
Visit the Kansas Office of Broadband Development at https://www.kansascommerce.gov/officeofbroadbanddevelopment/.

Chief justice to give state of Kansas judiciary address Jan. 11

Chief Justice Marla Luckert will give her 2023 State of the Kansas Judiciary address to a joint session of the Legislature at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 11, in the House chamber of the Statehouse.

Luckert will update Gov. Laura Kelly and members of the House and Senate—as well as the public—on the current state of Kansas’ court system and its role providing important services to people and businesses in communities statewide.

The Legislature will convene at 1:15 p.m. with the address scheduled to start at 1:30 p.m.

A live video stream will be available at www.youtube.com/c/KSLegislature¬-LIVE for Kansans who want remote access to the address.

There will also be a live audio stream on the Kansas Legislature website at http://kslegislature.org/li/. The link to the live audio stream is through the Audio/Video heading at the top of the Kansas Legislature home page. Listeners need to select House Proceedings Audio Stream to listen to live audio. 

Kelly bans TikTok from state-owned devices in executive branch, says information could be leaked to China

by Rachel Mipro, Kansas Reflector

Topeka — Citing security concerns, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly banned TikTok from all state-owned devices in the executive branch and prohibited access to the social media platform on the state network

Kelly signed an executive order banning it Wednesday, saying she was concerned about the security risks the app poses. TikTok’s parent company is run by a Chinese-owned company and has been under increased scrutiny in over the last month or so, with the FBI warning that user data is potentially being shared with the Chinese government.

Congress recently implemented a TikTok ban on federal devices in the House of Representatives, with some lawmakers in the Senate calling for a complete ban throughout the United States. Several states — including Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska — have security policies covering TikTok in place.

The ban applies to all state-owned devices in the executive branch agencies, boards and commissions. Kelly said she encouraged other state entities, such as the Board of Regents, the Office of the Attorney General and the legislative branch, to follow her lead.

“Today, I am taking common-sense steps to protect Kansans’ privacy and security,” Kelly said in a news release. “TikTok mines users’ data and potentially makes it available to the Chinese Communist Party — a threat recognized by a growing group of bipartisan leaders across the United States.”

Under the order, active official State of Kansas TikTok accounts will be removed, along with any TikTok applications on state-owned devices. Agencies have 30 days to begin blocking TikTok, and access to the TikTok website from state-managed networks will be blocked, with mechanisms put into place to prevent future app installation.

Kansas Reflector stories, www.kansasreflectorcom, may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.
See more at https://kansasreflector.com/briefs/kelly-bans-tiktok-from-state-owned-devices-in-executive-branch-says-information-could-be-leaked-to-china/