Noem Wants ‘Every Remaining’ South Dakotan Connected To Broadband

Dec 8, 2020

Gov. Kristi Noem has an ambitious goal to expand high-speed internet, known as broadband, to “every remaining unserved or under-served South Dakotan.”

She announced the plan Tuesday during her annual budget address.

She said it will cost $200 million. She wants the Legislature to budget $100 million for it, and she said the rest will come from the federal government and internet providers.

“We must create an environment where people aren't forced to choose between the modern economy on the one hand, and life at their hometown on the other,” Noem said. “We must make sure our people can harness the latest technology.”

Noem created a program, Connect SD, to expand broadband internet after she was elected two years ago.

She said it’s already spent $17 million of state money. Another $72 million has come from the federal government and internet providers, for total expenditures of $89 million.

The Legislature will begin considering Noem’s budget proposals on Jan. 12 when it convenes for its annual session at the Capitol in Pierre.

-Contact SDPB reporter Seth Tupper by email.