The Kansas House of Representatives approved an act Jan. 25 creating a technology network linking schools, libraries, colleges, and hospitals.

Known as the KAN-ED Act, the bill would link the state’s institutions with a broadband network that provides high-speed internet access, distance learning, and medical evaluation.

The act was approved 114-8, sending it to the Senate. Funding for the network would be contained in a separate bill.

Schools and libraries would begin connecting to the network by July 1, 2002. Hospitals have until July 1, 2003. A nine-member board would oversee the network, which would be maintained by the private sector.

Rep. Carl Krehbiel, R-Moundridge, said the state stood to get federal funding for the network. Other funds could come from the $68 million in new spending Gov. Bill Graves has recommended for education.

“The state is going to need to put something up,” said Krehbiel, a member of the Utilities Committee, which sponsored the bill. “It will probably have to be a few million dollars to demonstrate the state’s commitment.”

Krehbiel said the bill stood a better chance of passage this session than last.

“The bill failed in the Senate last year primarily because a state agency was going to run [the network] and the telecommunications industry had been left out,” he said.

The KAN-ED act is HB 2035.