Future-proof our state by investing in fiber
Many parts of Kansas are suffering the pain of 25 Mbps or slower connections. And 100 Mbps service is barely adequate for families and businesses with today’s video calls, streaming, and smart homes. Imagine our world in 10 years…25 years…50 years…when every “thing” is connected, and every person is connected in ways that we can’t yet conceive.
with minimum 1 Gbps download and upload speeds
IS THE ONLY ANSWER
- Consistently reliable speeds
- Not impacted by interferences: weather, other frequencies
- Most secure option available
- Keeps up with rapidly increasing bandwidth needs
- Best return on investment
Gigabit Service Availability
State and local officials:
NOW IS THE TIME TO BUILD FIBER
Here’s what you can do to provide a long-term broadband solution.
1. Set a standard for Kansas when it comes to speed and latency
Speed is no longer the debate holding up progress. Kansas must set a standard for fiber. With limitless capacities, fiber is the only technology scalable for the state’s future. We believe in a goal of 80/20 — meaning 80% of Kansans would have a future-proof fiber service level of symmetrical 1 Gbps download and upload speeds. In rare and extreme cases, 20% would have a minimum speed of 100 Mbps download provided through alternative technologies like wireless or satellite.
2. Invest once, invest smartly, with fiber
Choosing fiber won’t require more wasteful state or federal investment in yesterday’s technology. Fiber should be prioritized because it is a long-term solution. Betting on fiber means we’ll be funding a solution that will take us at least 50 years into the future.
Technologies like low-earth-orbit (“LEO”) satellites have been promising a solution for years, but LEO is unproven, and these satellites have the same capacity limitations as wireless. Additionally, they are not scalable for future bandwidth needs, which double every three years.
Fiber is the only technology that has the potential to sustain our bandwidth needs for decades to come.
Kansas needs to make the decision to invest wisely with fiber, now. If we keep waiting, we’ll fall further behind.
3. Think rural
Sustainable life in rural Kansas depends on this infrastructure, yet our rural communities are consistently our most underserved. Some without any infrastructure beyond a cellular hotspot. Agriculture remains a pillar of the Kansas economy, and we must ensure this pillar has service levels equal to that of urban areas to protect other investments and encourage economic growth.
4. Move on from mapping
We’ve talked about Kansas’ digital divide for years. Yet, we continue to delay programs in the hopes of creating the perfect map or obtaining the perfect dataset. It doesn’t exist. Kansas needs to solve the digital divide for good by deploying broadband in the areas where we know it’s needed, where businesses and residents tell us they need it, instead of basing grant decisions on arbitrary maps created from providers incentivized to game the system to protect their long-held turf. Further, if Kansas develops a fiber-first model, maps already exist showing where fiber is and where it is not.
5. Kansas needs to expedite its work on new broadband programs if it wants to compete in the digital age
Kansas is behind its sister states in developing broadband funding programs supported by federal ARPA and infrastructure funding dollars. Funding should be swiftly channeled into the creation of broadband grant programs supported by ARPA and Infrastructure Act funds. Kansans without fast broadband need a solution now. Timing is also important because Kansas is competing with other states across the nation for fiber optic cable, contractors and equipment. With this in mind, we encourage the state to shore up staffing in the office of broadband to levels similar to other states.
6. Update outdated policies to find funding
Kansas phone companies receive a $40M entitlement to maintain old, useless landline telephone technology with zero statutory focus on broadband. If these funds were reallocated competitively to high-performing broadband providers, rural Kansas would no longer be left behind. Reform of the Kansas Universal Service Funds program is needed. Reallocating these funds, like the federal government did more than a decade ago, creates a long-term funding stream for broadband with no increase in taxes.
7. Address unreasonable access and fee requirements for public right of way
This Legislature should adopt the recommendations of the 2018-19 Kansas Broadband Deployment task force, which included better access to public right-of-way, accelerating approval of construction permits and asking local governments to charge fees that are based only on their actual costs. We can recount instances of localities that charged in the thousands of dollars for permitting when the intended purpose of such charges is to merely recoup the cost of administering the permits. This is an enormous hindrance to broadband deployment in those areas.
Headquartered in Buhler, Kan., Ideatek is a broadband service provider with the mission of “fighting for INTERNET FREEDOM™.” IdeaTek uses a unique and innovative approach to deploy scalable, long-term fiber optic infrastructures, bridging the broadband gap in rural communities. IdeaTek has long been a state and national advocate for broadband equity policy and has built nearly 3,000 miles of fiber throughout Kansas. They were recently named to Inc. 5000’s list of fastest growing companies for the seventh time.
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