Rural Kansans Eligible for Grants to Improve Connectivity

Eligible Kansans can now apply for the for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Distance Learning and Telehealth (DLT) grants program.

According to Kansas Governor Laura Kelly’s Office, the USDA has allocated $42.4 million in funding for 2021 DLT grants nationwide. The program aims to help rural communities use the unique capabilities of telecommunications to connect to each other and to the world, overcoming the effects of remoteness and low population density.

“Ensuring all Kansans have access to quality, affordable broadband has always been one of my top priorities – but broadband access is just the first step to connectivity,” Governor Kelly said. “This grant is an incredible opportunity for rural Kansans to get funding for the telecommunications equipment and resources needed for telehealth services, virtual school, digital business activity, and more. I appreciate the USDA’s efforts to improve connectivity throughout the country.”

The program supports eligible rural communities with the costs associated with capital assets, instructional programming, and technical assistance. Program funds can be used on:

  • Broadband facilities
  • Audio, video and interactive video equipment
  • Terminal and data terminal equipment
  • Computer hardware, network components and software
  • Inside wiring and similar infrastructure that further DLT services
  • Instructional programming that is a capital asset
  • Technical assistance and instruction for using eligible equipment

DLT Grants are available to rural areas with population of 20,000 or less. Eligible applicants include most entities that provide education or health care through telecommunications, including most state and local governmental entities, federally recognized tribes, non-profits, for-profit businesses, and consortia of eligible entitles. Potential applicants can learn more, check if they are eligible, and apply here.

“Lack of connectivity has been a huge challenge in education and healthcare for rural communities, and this grant program has the potential to make a real impact,” Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Mike Beam said. “We appreciate this partnership with USDA as we work to strengthen and improve the quality of life in rural Kansas.”

The Office of Recovery co-hosted a webinar on the USDA DLT program with the Office of Broadband Development, Office of Rural Prosperity, and Department of Agriculture. You can watch a recording of the webinar and learn more here.