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Connecting South Dakota to its Neighbors and the World

Across the street, or across the globe, the growing need for connectivity has led South Dakota to invest millions in internet technological advances. Broadband, or high-speed internet access allows a user, regardless of location, to access the internet through a multitude of devices.

During the 2019 legislative session, Governor Kristi Noem kicked off the ConnectSD initative with a $5 million investment to close the broadband gap. With the introduction of ConnectSD, South Dakota got to work with a goal of completing the first round of connectivity by the end of 2019. The need for high-speed, high-quality internet throughout South Dakota became much more apparent in 2020 during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and so, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development has continued to work to improve broadband.

Since its inception, over 32,000 citizens have been connected to high-speed internet through the ConnectSD program with a total of $301 million invested from public and private funds.

Five years ago, thousands of South Dakota rural locations and communities were not connected to broadband, resulting in unreliable options such as satellite or dial-up services. With funding, ConnectSD has been able to change that and today, over 31,000 locations are connected to high-speed fiber.

South Dakota has prioritized fiber internet deployment, which is the gold standard in connectivity as it offers high-speed, reliable service that is sustainable. Because ConnectSD has focused on fiber, South Dakota is well positioned to support today’s quickly evolving technologies like AI and the newly developing quantum internet. Broadband is used by and impacts the quality of life for every citizen in South Dakota. From news and weather, to education, business operations, tele-medicine and much more, reliable internet service is a necessity that every South Dakotan deserves access to.

Broadband director Mike Waldner explained that he is optimistic that all South Dakotans will be connected to broadband by 2027.

South Dakota Governor’s Office of Economic Development

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