The Connect South Dakota initiative, a $5 million state-funded grant program proposed by Governor Kristi Noem in her State of the State and budget address in January 2019, was passed by the state legislature in March into the fiscal year 2020 budget. According to the Rapid City Journal, the Governor and recipients of the expanded services recently joined representatives from Venture Communications Cooperative to celebrate their work in Hughes County.
The program focuses specifically on South Dakotans living far enough out of town broadband networks but not secluded enough to qualify for existing federal rural internet programs. It utilizes public-private partnerships with communications companies in order to fund the projects. Due to this program, South Dakota is now eligible for more federal dollars for rural internet, according to Governor Noem.
Other counties that will be included in the first year of funding by the Connect South Dakota initiative are Dewey, Davison, Codington, Clay, Union, Minnehaha, and Moody counties.
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