South Dakota governor pushes for broadband expansion


PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Gov. Kristi Noem on Thursday continued her push for expanding broadband internet access in the state.

She said that some rural communities do not have access to high-speed internet and is asking for $5 million in the state budget to encourage its expansion. She requested the same amount of money last year.

The Republican governor called broadband access a “change of way of life” for rural people that can help them access education, job opportunities and grow businesses. The state currently ranks 35th in the country in the percentage of population with access to high-speed internet. About 88% of people in the state have access.

Mona Thompson, the general manager of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe telephone authority, said that the expansion of high-speed internet access to the town of Timber Lake has allowed kids to download videos for classes and businesses to process credit card transactions.

The Legislature will be finalizing the state budget in the next couple weeks.