Rural Broadband Expansion
The availability of robust broadband in rural South Dakota is critical for the business of agriculture, education, health care, and just staying in touch with the world. Unfortunately the high cost of deploying broadband in rural areas has meant that some areas of our state haven’t had this much-needed access. I’ve worked hard to change that. Much of that work involves encouraging and working with our telecommunication companies and organizations to craft federal policy that works for rural South Dakota.
A 2015 success story came from CenturyLink’s announcement that they would partner with the FCC’s Connect America Fund to expand broadband to 15,000 South Dakota locations over the next six years. Many of our rural telephone companies continue to build fiber optic lines into their exchanges giving those customers world class broadband.
In September I was asked to share my thoughts on rural broadband at the National Telephone Cooperative Association’s fall meeting. The discussion with CEO Shirley Bloomfield in front of their 1500 attendees allowed me to share South Dakota’s perspective on a national stage. The work is far from over as I continue the push to get ALL of South Dakota connected!