PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota regulators might give a Minnesota company another chance to provide broadband and telephone service in some under-served areas of South Dakota.

LTD Broadband had won a Federal Communications Commission auction to deliver federally subsidized service to 7,481 households in 21 South Dakota counties.

The company applied for designation in South Dakota as an eligible telecommunications carrier in January 2021. The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission however turned down the request in March 2022, deciding that installing service would cost more than the company said.

LTD Broadband now wants the South Dakota commission to reconsider that decision or re-hear information that wasn’t previously presented regarding costs.

The South Dakota commission decided Tuesday that LTD Broadband can submit a written argument for a rehearing or reconsideration. South Dakota commission chairman Chris Nelson said that the commission has never before done this.

LTD Broadband would receive approximately $46.6 million in federal subsidies during a 10-year span for serving areas in Brookings, Butte, Clay, Codington, Corson, Custer, Dewey, Hamlin, Hand, Jones, Lake, Lawrence, Lincoln, Lyman, Meade, Minnehaha, Pennington, Stanley, Todd, Union and Yankton counties.

The South Dakota Telecommunications Association argued Tuesday against the South Dakota commission giving the company a second bite at the apple.

The original denial was based on a SDTA witness saying that LTD couldn’t install infrastructure at the amount that LTD said. “You should hear the evidence,” LTD attorney Jason Sutton told the commission Tuesday. “It not only can be, it is being done.”

SDTA executive director Kara Semmler countered, “Cost data was always available.” She said LTD had argued throughout the hearing that cost information was irrelevant.

LTD’s Sutton said LTD would appeal to circuit court if the South Dakota commission denied the company’s request. He said the commission would then lose all jurisdiction over the denial and that would complicate any new docket that LTD would file with the South Dakota commission: “All of those are avoided through the re-hearing process.”

According to Sutton, LTD in the meantime faces “a very real risk” that the FCC would rule adversely on providing the federal subsidy to LTD.