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Press Release

GOED Awards Final Round of ConnectSD Broadband Funding

December 29, 2023

PIERRE, SD – Today, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) awarded the final round of ConnectSD broadband grants. Governor Kristi Noem is committed to expanding broadband for South Dakota citizens, and that effort will continue with this funding. 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,” said Governor Noem. “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; and,
  • Santel Communications Cooperative, Inc., rural Yankton and rural Vermillion, Westreville, Greenfield, Meckling, $13,438,989.

“Since Governor Noem began the ConnectSD program in 2019, almost 32,000 more citizens are today enjoying high-speed internet. The ConnectSD broadband program has invested $85 million in state funds to help create a broadband investment across our state, totaling $302 million including other public and private funds,” said GOED Commissioner Chris Schilken.

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.

“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.”

For locations previously awarded, citizens can view the South Dakota Public Broadband map at https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/9179a8570def4bb0b5e574512df4b504. To keep informed of the ConnectSD program, sign up to the ConnectSD newsletter at: https://sdgoed.com/partners/connectsd/.

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