Broadband Expansion in South Dakota

September 29, 2022 – The expansion of broadband internet availability in rural South Dakota has been a key focus of mine. The good news is that South Dakota is in a much better place today than even a few years ago. According to FCC data in the last six years we’ve expanded broadband from 58% to 94% of the census blocks in the state.

That’s dramatic progress but the job is not done. The last six percent of area is also the most expensive six percent to reach. Finishing this job will take a mixture of private capital, access to several different federal and state funding sources, and the right regulatory environment to encourage this continued buildout.

While I am involved in a number of different broadband advocacy efforts at the state and federal levels, one of my most enjoyable roles is helping individual South Dakotans understand what broadband options they may currently have and what options may be available in the future due to the continued buildout across the state.

I was recently at a meeting and a couple came up to me with the opening line “we need to talk to you about broadband at our residence” which immediately prompted me to reach for my notepad and pen to take down their information so I could go to work on their situation. They told me to “put that away” because they wanted to tell me they had been working with PUC staff who had found a resolution to get them broadband by the end of this year. They just wanted to let me know how grateful they were to our staff for the assistance they had received.

Helping close the broadband internet gap is my mission!