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Internet providers look at Kansas broadband access

April 22, 2018

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — More than half of Kansas residents aren’t using broadband internet despite the availability of the service to nearly everyone in the state.

The South Central Kansas Economic Development District recently held a broadband symposium in Wichita for providers. Participants said hardwire broadband services are now available to more than 90 percent of Kansas residents, but less than 60 percent are purchasing it, the Hutchinson News reported .

That leaves hundreds of thousands of state residents with no access, except through wireless services.

Some providers said they’re willing to work on getting broadband to nearly any business in the state that wants it, but several community officials said many people perceive just the opposite.

Kansas residents living miles from existing service received no signal of such commitments.

“Shame on us if we’re not giving you the information you need to showcase our business,” said Colleen Jennison, vice president of Cox Communication’s Kansas market. “I commit to you we’re happy to do that. Help us tell a good story so I can get the dollars I need to invest as well.”

Officials with AT&T, Cox, KsFiberNet and IdeaTek said they could improve getting the message to potential customers and closing the access gap, especially in the state’s rural areas.

“We can put in all the fiber and all the cell towers we can, blanketing the state, but adoption is a big part of it,” said Mike Scott, president of AT&T Kansas. “Just because we put it in and make a sizeable investment, doesn’t mean customers will pick it up. We have to ensure a good return on investment. ... That’s the sad fact, but the economic reality of the business when we decide where to deploy.”

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Information from: The Hutchinson (Kan.) News, http://www.hutchnews.com

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