The South Dakota’s Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED), in its final round of funding in the ConnectSD program, will award as much as $27 million to support high-speed broadband in rural areas of the state. Applications will be accepted soon.
“We are revitalizing small town America with this investment. And we are preserving our way of life,” Gov. Kristi Noem said at the South Dakota Telecommunications Association Conference this week in Deadwood. “My vision is to bring, high-speed internet to every home and business in South Dakota. No one should have to choose between the modern economy and a life in their hometown. It’s time to finish the job.”
According to the GOED, more than $269.5 million already has been invested in projects in seven previous rounds of funding since 2019. That funding came from $58 million in state general funds, $89 million in federal funds and $122 million in private investment from the broadband providers. ConnectSD so far has awarded 104 grant awards or projects that will eventually connect almost 31,000 locations.
In May, the ConnectSD grant program awarded nine service providers a total of $32.5 million in broadband funding. The three biggest winners are local telecom providers: Venture Vision (also known as Venture Communications Cooperative), was given $8.6 million; Golden West received two awards totaling almost $7 million; and Alliance Communications Cooperative was awarded $5.1 million.
This is not the first case of federal money flowing to Golden West. The cooperative, formally known as The Golden West Telecommunications Cooperative, was awarded $1.7 million for a fiber-to-the-node (FTTN) platform to connect 218 people, five businesses, 65 farms and one essential community in Fall River and Custer counties in southwestern South Dakota and in Niobrara and Weston counties in eastern Wyoming.
Grant applications for this final round of funding will be available soon on the ConnectSD website.
For more information about South Dakota broadband, including funding programs and news coverage, visit Telecompetitor’s Broadband Nation page for South Dakota.