Governor Kristi Noem’s Weekly Column: Expanding Broadband

Expanding Broadband
By Governor Kristi Noem

I’ve heard it said that 65 percent of children in elementary school today will work in jobs that don’t yet exist. These jobs of the future – the jobs our children will depend on to support families of their own – will almost certainly require access to technology, particularly the internet. We must make those investments now. Raising the next generation with tools such as broadband is our responsibility.

South Dakota’s lack of broadband is a big problem to tackle. Half our counties have rural areas where one in four people don’t have adequate internet access. Some counties have rural areas where half the residents don’t have reliable access. We must close the broadband gap to ensure South Dakotans have the opportunity to work and hire locally while selling globally.

That’s easier said than done. Fiber optic line can cost $15,000 per mile to lay, and the low number of customers in some rural areas makes it too expensive for companies to justify their investment.

Some have discouraged me from even trying to expand access across the state because it’s too hard and too expensive. But I refuse to quit. Geographic location cannot be an excuse for the government to do nothing when the future vitality of our economy is at stake.  Geographic location no longer has to be a barrier to participating in the global economy.

Earlier this month, I announced my plan to close the broadband gap. Partnering with others, I want to connect as many more South Dakotans as possible to high speed internet over the next four years.

To accomplish this goal, we’ll bring together industry leaders. Our state’s rural telecom companies, in particular, have considerable experience in bringing broadband service to our rural areas. Our state’s other wireline service providers have an important role to play in areas they serve as well, and I look forward to working with them on increasing their level of service.

What’s more, I want to bring in companies with emerging technologies in the fixed wireless arena, such as Microsoft’s Airband initiative, that may offer more cost-efficient ways to provide fast, reliable service to our most difficult to serve locations.  And I see a role for companies ready to invest in new 5G technology, which promises faster, more reliable service over cellular data networks.

Additionally, we’re going to commit state resources to closing the broadband gap. But we can’t, and shouldn’t, exclusively rely on those to get us across the finish line, so we’re developing a series of public-private partnerships to help overcome the challenges of service in rural areas and achieve the ambitious goals we’ve set for South Dakota.

I’m confident we can find a way to bridge our own challenges and secure broadband for South Dakota’s next generation and beyond.


6 Replies to “Governor Kristi Noem’s Weekly Column: Expanding Broadband”

  1. Anonymous

    Thank God Sen. Thune has been leading in this; it gives Kristi something to speak about a week after he’s spoken about this very topic.

    His position and leadership on the Senate Commerce committee as Chairman and now his Subcommittee Chairmanship of the Tech/Telecomm Subcommittee will put South Dakota at the forefront of 5G.

    Glad Kristi is so original-

  2. Anonymous

    There seems to be some serious health issues connected with 5G, hope she takes the time to hear residents concerns and does some research fro herself. Money isn’t everything.

    1. MC

      I have seen/heard of these reports as well. The studies of 5G and health issues have inconsistent at best. I think more studies need to be conducted to confirm or deny these claims

      There is a major flaw in using 5G or any other wireless service, that is the service depends on radio transmissions. Radio transmissions can be affected by changing atmospheric conditions, man-made items, and natural occurring phenomenons. If we are determined to use wireless, we need to find away to over come these issues, consistently.

      1. Anonymous

        Yes, more studies should be conducted.

        Maybe they can pay residents living around the towers so to gather information that’s not currently available. ‘Who Develops Cancer, What Type of Cancer and How Long it Takes to Maturate’ – good name for a study? People will do anything for the right amount of money.

  3. Anonymous

    If you want to understand what stances Kristi is likely to take on any given issue, watch Thune. It’s no accident Kristi’s chief of staff is one of Thune’s most prominent former staffers.

  4. Lawrence County

    Marin County has come out against the installation of 5G towers. In spite of the opinion most South Dakotans have about California, just maybe the inhabitants of Marin are more concerned with thier health than about having more money.


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