Broadband project connects rural communities across South Dakota

Local News

BRANDON, S.D. (KELO) — For many of us, it’s hard to imagine life without high speed internet.
But, there are a lot of people in our area who still don’t have it. That’s where the Connect SD Broadband Program comes in. The state is spending $100-million connecting homes and businesses across the state.

Alliance Communications is nearing the finish line on an extensive project.

“Since 2016, we’ve put in 650 miles of fiber, this project alone was 500 miles of fiber and connected over 170 locations,” Alliance Communications’ Ross Petrick said.

Making connections in towns like Renner and Rowena.

Governor Kristi Noem and FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr got a first-hand look at the work recently completed at Riviera Events & Catering. The business has been waiting eight years for high-speed internet.

“South Dakota’s growing like crazy. We have thousands of people that are moving to this state, hundreds and hundreds of businesses, getting this kind of connection in every single part of our state is incredibly important,” Governor Kristi Noem said.

Noem says the state has already spent more than $30-million in CARES Act funding on the project.

“What the governor has put together, this partnership between leveraging state dollars and federal dollars, has created a nationwide model that I think other governors should be looking to get the job done of fully bridging the digital divide,” FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr said.

Jessica Schaap and her eight kids live in this rural development west of Rowena. They love living in the country, but not the internet, until now. Yesterday, they received fiber to their home.

“My husband and I, I go you watch Netflix on the TV in the living room, I’m going to watch Netflix on the TV in the bedroom and there was no buffering and we were in heaven,” Jessica Schaap said.

“We’re headed in the right direction right now, we just need to keep going until we get every single community connected,” Carr said.

The project near Rowena will be completed in a few weeks and will connect a total of 230 locations.

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