Broadband and Digital Equity

Three children looking at tablet computers

Investing in Broadband Infrastructure and Bridging the Digital Divide

MARC, KC Rising and the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City have worked with representatives from local governments, businesses, education and nonprofit organizations, civic leaders and other community partners to develop two plans – The Broadband Infrastructure Needs and Recommendations, Metropolitan Kansas City and The Kansas City Regional Digital Equity Action Strategy. While much of the Kansas City region is well served with broadband infrastructure, gaps exist in urban, suburban and rural areas. The broadband infrastructure plan identifies areas where investments through grants from the two states could address these needs.

While most households in the region have adequate broadband services in their homes, about one in ten households lack broadband subscriptions, computers and know-how to effectively use the technology. The strategy plan evaluated digital equity needs for target populations throughout the region and outlined recommendations to address digital access and services. 

The planning work began in 2022 in response to federal legislation designed to help states address infrastructure and digital equity. Community stakeholders were engaged in a variety of steps, including an advisory group, individual interviews, group meetings, inventory and engagement of community organizations, hosting of meetings for the two states’ broadband offices, surveys and mapping analysis.

Funding to support this work was provided by the COVID-19 KC Regional Response and Recovery Fund and the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City