South Dakota doles out $32.4M in funding to three ISPs

The South Dakota Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) last week announced the final round of ConnectSD broadband winners, awarding $32.4 million to three providers.

The ISP that scored the highest amount of funding was Gallatin Wireless Internet, which does business as Celerity Internet. It received around $15.2 million to cover the cities of Spearfish, St.Onge, Whitewood as well as from west Belle Fourche to the Wyoming border.

According to its coverage map, Celerity serves parts of central and eastern South Dakota and covers a small portion in the west, extending just across the Wyoming state line. Celerity offers fiber service of up to 400 Mbps and fixed wireless service of up to 100-meg for residential customers.

Santel Communications Cooperative won a $13.4 million grant to expand its service in rural Yankton and rural Vermillion, as well as in Westreville, Greenfield and Meckling.

Santel, which currently serves approximately 4,000 members in ten communities, is a part-owner of SDN, a 50,000-mile statewide fiber network. SDN notes it partners with 17 independent South Dakota broadband companies.

The final awardee was Long Lines Broadband, which does business as Jefferson Telephone Company. The ISP will use $3.7 million in funding to deliver broadband to rural Elk Point, Burbank, Junction City, Richland and areas northeast and west of the Interstate 29 highway.

The three providers will altogether connect over 2,160 locations in the state. Launched in 2019, the ConnectSD program has helped connect 32,000 additional South Dakota residents to high-speed internet, according to GOED Commissioner Chris Schilken.

“The ConnectSD broadband program has invested $85 million in state funds to help create a broadband investment across our state, totaling $302 million including other public and private funds,” said Schilken in a statement.

This was the second ConnectSD funding award announced in 2023. The first, announced last May, doled out $32.5 million to nine providers.