PIERRE, S.D. – Connect South Dakota, the state program designed to fund broadband projects in unserved and underserved areas across the state, recently awarded $5 million to its first grant recipients. The money was approved by legislators last March. The initial $5 million will leverage more than $11.4 million in project costs.

Among those companies awarded:

  • Alliance Communications-Garretson
  • Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Telephone Authority-Eagle Butte
  • Interstate Telecommunications Cooperative-Clear Lake
  • Midco-Sioux Falls
  • Mitchell Telecom-Mitchell
  • RC Technologies-New Effington
  • Vast Broadband-Sioux Falls
  • Venture Communications-Highmore

“Sixty-five percent of kids in elementary school today will work in jobs that don’t yet exist. These jobs will almost certainly require access to a high-speed internet connection,” said Noem. “Raising the next generation with access to online resources is our responsibility as parents and citizens.”

“Connect South Dakota is a step toward closing the broadband gap in South Dakota and equipping our kids for the jobs of the future. The greatest need we found in our assessment was for funding in some of the outer rings around communities that don’t have the population density of a city or town and aren’t rural enough to qualify for federal rural broadband dollars. In our first round of awards, we will be able to impact more than 100 businesses and about 4,800 residents,” continued Noem.

These eight projects are “shovel ready” and will be completed by the end of 2019. “It’s imperative that we continue moving projects forward in a timely fashion. Broadband speeds are improving continuously so we need to stay ahead of the curve,” Noem added.

Source: sd.gov