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Publications iconKansas Register

Volume 41 - Issue 32 - August 11, 2022

State of Kansas

Department of Commerce
Department of Transportation

Request for Information for Statewide Broadband Fiber Optic Infrastructure

The State Broadband Office is exploring approaches to develop a strategic statewide mid-mile broadband infrastructure through a coordinated installation of multi-duct and fiber optic infrastructure along several designated highway locations. The infrastructure will include duct space, fiber, handholes, and regeneration building space. The locations can include statewide priority and priority freight routes with begin and end points.

The state has numerous needs for an infrastructure like this statewide. These needs include the following:

Research and Education

Kansas is the only state in the region and one of only a few in the US that does not have a dedicated fiber optic Research and Education backbone network.[1] Most higher education institutions are not just internet customers but contain all the aspects of a small municipality (residential, government, and commercial interests) within their campuses, and thus need the same level and grade of external connectivity that a carrier serving a small town would. Kansas anchor institutions, particularly public higher education institutions (Regents, community colleges, and technical schools), would benefit greatly from a middle mile strategy.

Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT)

Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) is a component of Kansas’ 10-year comprehensive transportation plan.[2] KDOT has a need for fiber construction along primary and secondary freight routes to meet innovation needs outlined in IKE. KDOT has $10M annually earmarked for these needs. A middle-mile grant would allow Kansas to leverage more federal dollars to fund these routes in a few years versus a decade. KDOT is also interested in knowing of possible partnering opportunities that could include the following but not limited to: KDOT participate in the construction by contracting for its share of the installation, maintenance, shared infrastructure, cost share, resource exchange/sharing, etc.

Tribal and Minority Populations

Middle-mile routes could be designed to pass Tribal lands in the eastern part of the state as well as minority communities in the western part of Kansas, bringing greater access and more competitive rates to historically underserved areas.


More middle-mile fiber in the state would allow non-incumbent providers to enter monopoly markets through an open-access model. New competitive entrants will drive down the cost of broadband to the consumer.


Businesses would also benefit from the environment of competition spurred by wholesale rates to middle-mile fiber for ISPs. Additionally, commercial partners will share in the construction of the network and could be given advantageous access to some of the assets for their own needs, while operating the remainder in an open-access environment.


Serving the NBAF facility in Manhattan, Kansas[3] with additional fiber routes will add redundancy and resiliency to the biosafety lab. This will add a compelling piece to the application narrative.

Statewide Incident Command/Emergency Management

Currently, over 85% of public safety in the state relies on land mobile radio (LMR) that is only partially connected with fiber. Currently many aspects of communications rely on microwave connections that do not provide the future capacity requirements. Broadband usage by first responders in Kansas has grown exponentially as services are available. Middle-mile fiber expansion in Kansas will greatly enhance our responder’s capability as well as speed of response to better protect the citizens of Kansas.

Internet Exchange Points

Kansas is one of 17 states without a carrier neutral internet exchange point (i.e., 1102 Grand). Carrier neutral exchange points are sought to: enhance resilience associated with the current exchange route limitations; reduce data transport distances and costs; and improve internet traffic flows by improving access to content. Exchange points can be included in an EMMBI application.

To develop a fiber optic infrastructure to meet the states long-term broadband needs, the state intends to allow nonexclusive use of its right-of-way along highway corridors except for interstates to allow companies in the broadband business to install fiber optic cable along the right-of-way under a permitting relationship with KDOT. Possible partnering opportunities could include the following but not limited to construction of a portion of the mid-mile program, ownership, maintenance, operations, etc.

The State Broadband Office is requesting interested companies to provide input for the grant development, policies and for ideas of what the partnering should look like statewide. If you have any questions or interest in partnering with the State of Kansas, along the designated routes listed below, for fiber optic infrastructure please contact before the close of business on August 18, 2022.

  • US-83: Liberal to Garden City – 67 Miles
  • US-400/US-50: Garden City to Wichita – 200 miles
  • US-54: Liberal to US-400 junction – 95 miles
  • US-400/US-54: K-96 and US-54 junction to US-69 junction – 150 miles
  • US-69: Stateline to Kansas City location – 135 miles
  • I-35: Emporia to Kansas City location – 90 miles
  • US-169: US-166 to Greeley Regeneration Building – 100 miles



David Toland
Lieutenant Governor
Department of Commerce

Julie Lorenz
Department of Transportation

Doc. No. 050398