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South Dakota:
Under God, the People Rule

Connecting South Dakota

We have it pretty good in South Dakota. From our stunning natural landscapes to our revitalized hometown main streets and hardworking, honest people, there is so much that makes South Dakota special.

As we look toward the future, we must do everything we can to preserve the South Dakotan way of life that we hold so dear—and ensure that no one in the state needs to choose between the modern economy on the one hand and life in their hometown on the other. This starts with providing high-speed broadband access to every household in the state.

When I first became Governor, I made it a top priority to close our state's broadband gap once and for all, and I tasked the Governor's Office of Economic Development (GOED) with spearheading this effort. In 2019, the South Dakota Legislature approved $5 million in grant money to launch ConnectSD, our broadband development program. In 2020, we followed up on that success with another $5 million in state funds and $6.6 million in CARES Act dollars, which leveraged almost $35 million in federal funds and $37 million in private investment to make a real difference in our state. This effort has been incredibly successful in providing internet access across South Dakota—since I took office in 2019, over 21,000 households and businesses have received internet through the ConnectSD program.

In 2020, though, South Dakotans' need for broadband access became even more clear. The global coronavirus pandemic showed us that even many South Dakotans with some form of broadband did not truly have internet that met their needs—especially when one household contained multiple people trying to work remotely, take online classes, and attend telehealth appointments all at the same time. By our count, as 2021 began, roughly 135,000 South Dakotans still did not have access to broadband that meets the needs of the 21st century.

That's why we made our most substantial broadband investment yet during the 2021 legislative session. South Dakota legislators approved $75 million in state funding to finish connecting the state to high-speed broadband. When combined with $25 million in CARES Act funding, additional federal funding, and private investment, this will be enough to ensure that every single South Dakotan is able to access broadband service that meets their needs.

Broadband access is critical for so many reasons. Broadband creates jobs, expands careers, and allows workers from across the country to relocate and work remotely from anywhere in South Dakota. It makes it possible for folks living anywhere in the state to become entrepreneurs—and have an entire world of potential customers at the click of a button.

For our state's largest industry, broadband allows farmers, ranchers, and producers to be competitive and grow their businesses. It provides access to marketing opportunities, valuable weather and data collecting tools, online auctions, futures and options trading, and more.

For students of all ages—and anyone who wants to continue their education—broadband allows access to distance learning options and online courses, online tutoring, and other educational resources from across the country and around the world. For K-12 students, it ensures that they can complete their homework at home, rather than a school or library parking lot.

And for everyone in the state, broadband enables telehealth options for even the most rural residents, allowing anyone to meet with their doctors online rather than making lengthy drives to and from physical offices. Even more fundamentally, it allows South Dakotans to make appointments online, fill prescriptions virtually, and instantly access their medical records when needed. It also gives rural residents access to specialists that they otherwise would need to drive hundreds of miles to see in person.

Universal broadband access will improve the lives of South Dakotans right now and preserve our way of life for the future. I'm excited to bring this project over the finish line and close our broadband gap once and for all.

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2021 Grant Awards

Alliance Communications
Fairview - $209,195

Alliance Communications
Rural Lincoln and Turner Counties - $2,424,000

Ft. Randall Telephone Company
Rural Pennington County- $555,791

Ft. Randal Telephone Company
Wagner, Lake Andes, Keystone, Hermosa, Centerville and Viborg - $3,592,629

Interstate Telecommunications Cooperative
Grant County - $1,364,238

Interstate Telecommunications Cooperative
Lakes Poinsett and Albert and Rural Codington County - $5,459,204

James Valley Cooperative Telephone Company
City of Groton - $293,927

James Valley Cooperative Telephone Company
Rural Frederick, Rural Groton, Rural Hecla - $2,555,783

Jefferson Telephone Company
Rural Union County - $1,476,600

Kennebec Telephone Company
Client Hardware - $55,836

Leap Communications
Rural Parker - $142,050

Midco Communications
Ellis, Hermosa Area, Mission Hill, NW Yankton and SW Minnehaha County - $4,111,707

Midco Communications
Harrisburg, Rural Tea and Rural Vermillion - $1,052,679

Midstate Communications
Oacoma - $190,966

Mitchell Telecom
Rural E Davison - $346,273

Northern Valley Communications
Brown County, Rural Bristol, Rural Conde - $4,252,653

RC Technologies
Big Stone Lake - $849,865

RC Technologies
Rural Big Stone Lake, Rural Codington and Roberts Counties - $1,018,320

Santel Communications Cooperative
Beadle County and Rural Davison - $8,657,456

TrioTel Communications
Junius and Fulton - $883,882

Valley FiberCom
Rural Brookings and Kingsbury Counties - $1,549,138

Valley FiberCom
Rural Brookings, Kingsbury and Moody Counties - $6,031,075

Vast Broadband
Rural Belle Fourche, Spearfish, Yankton and Turner Counties - $1,457,352

Vast Broadband
Rural Turner County - $1,450,309

Venture Vision
Hand County - $5,768,727

Venture Vision
Rural Beadle and Spink Counties - $1,196,401

Relevant Links

Ready to Partner
Office of Economic Development