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Money Matters: Broadband & Business

December 18, 2009, 9:50 PM by Angela Kennecke

Most of us in Sioux Falls take lightning fast broadband Internet for granted. But that's not the case in many areas across the state.

Now thanks to a $20 million grant in stimulus money, SDN communications will build the infrastructure to bring broadband to more than 300 institutions in South Dakota.
In tonight's Money Matters we find out what that will mean for one small town's economy alone.

Travel just 40 minutes down the road to Salem, South Dakota and the Information Super Highway slows down... way down.

"Everybody's looking at the need for speed and this is a portion of it. Everybody wants faster Internet," said Bryan Roth of Trio Tel, a communications provider.

Faster Internet is more than just a luxury. These days it's a business necessity.

"It's a huge economic development for the state of South Dakota. It takes time and time is money for businesses, so the quicker they can transfer data the better off they are and the more efficient employees are and business as well," said Bryan Roth of TrioTel, a communications provider.

Broadband Internet will also improve telemedicine to Salem's two clinics and speed up communication at area schools as well as both the Hanson and McCook County Courthouses.

"Having faster speeds to more places will ultimately improve South Dakota healthcare potential, education, share more resources among schools, improve our public safety. Whether it's training or education, this project will touch a lot of different areas of South Dakota," said SDN Communications CEO Mark Shlanta.

It will also keep South Dakota guardsmen serving in the Middle East connected to folks back home. Guardsman Jason Lunders says when technology failed while he was serving in Iraq, it was tough on him.

"That was our capacity of keeping in contact with families when we were over there. There was a lot of days, very herky-jerky; we couldn't use it," said Jason Lunders.

A better connection that will keep this small community, just one of many in South Dakota, connected to the world.

The broadband project will take three years to complete. SDN is contributing $5 million of its own money as well.

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