South Dakota has raised the benchmark for providers applying for Broadband funding under the State’s ConnectSD broadband program.
Here is what you need to learn about the news.
South Dakota Sets High Bar For Broadband Funding
South Dakota has set a high benchmark for providers applying for the ConnectSD Broadband Development Program to get broadband funding.
Informing about the recent development for broadband funding, the South Dakota Governor’s Office of Economic Development, which administers the ConnectSD Broadband program, has said, “The State has made the policy decision to approve and fund future-proof fibre projects. Other technologies such as DSL copper, fixed wireless and satellite, while they have their place in the ecosystem, are considered temporary ‘stop-gap’ or ‘the only option technologies.”
The State governor, Kristi Noem, launched the ConnectSD broadband program with $5 million in funding when she first entered the Governor’s office in 2019. It is a public-private partnership to provide high-speed broadband to all South Dakota residents.
While launching the program, Governor Noem said, “ConnectSD is investing in South Dakota’s future by bringing high-speed broadband access to every South Dakota family.”
“We are committed to connecting every corner of South Dakota with high-speed internet access, and this investment will allow us to overcome challenges that stand in the way of that mission.”
Recently, the program awarded over $32 million in grants for 13 projects from nine providers. These projects will provide more coverage in the prairie area of Stanley County, part of the State’s southeast corner, and in the Black Hills region.
According to the details, the State also “encourages” service providers applying for rural broadband funding to contribute a minimum of 50% of funds except when there are any serious circumstances not to do so.
Also, providers contributing more than 50% of project costs will get one extra point for every extra percentage point above this limit (50%). Up to 25 extra points in the scoring will be used to determine awardees.
The State has also noted the technology used in the projects to get the funding. The technologies must deliver at least 250 Mbps downstream and 20 Mbps upstream.
The provider applicants will get five extra points for deploying technology that provides 250/100 Mbps speeds, 10 extra points for using technology that offers 250/250 Mbps, 15 extra points for delivering 500/500 Mbps and 20 extra points for offering symmetrical gigabit speeds.
Additionally, the State has asserted that the project should be executed in an eligible area that lacks 100/20 Mbps service.
According to the news, the applicants can apply for this rural broadband funding until 4:00 p.m. CT on December 1, 2023.
South Dakota’s high standards for broadband funding reflect its steps towards providing a competitive environment for the providers, making them perform best to ensure that all South Dakota people can benefit from the internet.
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