Kansas has recently created a broadband office within the Department of Commerce. In 2020, the Kansas Legislature passed, and Governor Laura Kelly enacted, a bill to fund $85 million for broadband expansion over the next 10 years to be administered by the Department of Commerce through the Office of Broadband Development. This state-funded grant program will allot $5 million annually for the first three years and $10 million annually for the next seven years.
The state of Kansas set aside funding designed to help the state deal with fallout from a crisis that exposed technology gaps related to education, health and business. The governor and legislators previously agreed to earmark at least $50 million in CARES Act funding for broadband expansion. These funds need to be expended and work completed within a few months of legislative approval. In practicality this meant the full state-wide grant program, from grant application development to the completion of the funded infrastructure projects, needed to be developed and administered within roughly a 3-month timeframe. All parties recognized the major lift that would be required to make this project a success and to get funds into the hands of the providers.
Tilson was able to bring subject matter experts into each project area as needed and ramp up staff to meet the client’s timeline. Tilson helped grant applicants across the state understand the areas of the application that were unclear including GIS, technical, and financial program requirements. Tilson prepared a customized scoring matrix for the client along with multiple spreadsheet interfaces and presentation quality GIS maps to assist the client in their decision-making process and provide public ready marketing material. Tilson also analyzed the applications to ensure funds were not spent on overlapping networks. These processes and tools Tilson helped developed can be used for future funding endeavors that the state of Kansas recently obligated general funds toward. Tilson then applied the developed scoring matrix to all eligible application submissions, culminating in a detailed recommendation for awards across the state.
Tilson partners with public and private sector community leadership to plan, design, construct, and maintain viable and cost-effective broadband networks that are essential to communities’ safety, economy, health, and quality of life.
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