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South Dakota Awards Final Round of Broadband Funding

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem's Office of Economic Development has awarded the final round of ConnectSD broadband grants. The awards will make high-speed Internet available to underserved households across the state.

(TNS) — South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem's Office of Economic Development awarded the final round of ConnectSD broadband grants last week.

GOED said in a release these awards will make quality, future proof, high-speed Internet available to underserved households across the state.

"South Dakotans shouldn't have to choose between our small-town way of life and modern-day technological advances. We are excited to be connecting so many communities in some very rural areas," Noem said. "This final round of funding will allow even more South Dakotans to both live and work where they choose."

GOED is awarding $32.4 million to three providers. These three projects will leverage private matching dollars for a total investment of over $40.3 million, connecting over 2,160 households, farms and businesses. The funding is from the 2021 legislative appropriation, relinquished projects and closed projects under budget.

The awardees and locations are:

  • Gallatin Wireless Internet LLC (dba Celerity Internet), west Belle Fourche to Wyoming border and rural Spearfish, St. Onge, Whitewood, $15,249,569
  • Long Lines Broadband (dba Jefferson Telephone Company, LLC), rural Elk Point (northeast and west of I-29, Burbank, Junction City, Richland), $3,770,300
  • Santel Communications Cooperative, Inc., rural Yankton and rural Vermillion, Westreville, Greenfield, Meckling, $13,438,989

GOED Commissioner Chris Schilken said since the ConnectSD program began in 2019, nearly 32,000 South Dakotans have been connected to high-speed Internet. More than $300 million in public and private funding has been invested across the state, Schilken said.

The ConnectSD program enables public-private partnerships with telecommunication companies to bring broadband to unserved and underserved South Dakotans. The program will reimburse successful applicants up to their maximum awarded amount, with reimbursements based on actual receipts and costs incurred, GOED said.

"With this final round of grants, we are connecting high-speed fiber Internet in a vast area of the southeast corner of South Dakota in the rural areas around Yankton and Vermillion," said ConnectSD program manager Mike Waldner. "One project will cover 175 square miles in the Black Hills in the areas of rural Spearfish, St. Onge, and Whitewood, including rural Belle Fourche to the Wyoming border."

©2024 Rapid City Journal, S.D., Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.