The South Dakota Broadband Initiative (SDBI) has awarded 26 broadband grants to anchor institutions throughout the state in an effort to continue broadband expansion and technology improvements. The funding is part of the federal Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunication and Information Administration’s (NTIA) State Broadband Initiative (SBI). In July, the SDBI first awarded technology grants to 15 CAIs for projects exceeding $112,000 in total. Today, 26 CAIs are receiving awards for projects totaling over $205,000.
Upon request, the SDBI Technology Planning team will assist the anchor institution staff and their technology partners with the implementation of the equipment into their infrastructure. The Technology Planning and Computer Ownership program is one segment of the overall SDBI. The primary purpose is to provide anchor institutions with technology consulting and solutions pertaining to their technical infrastructure and broadband connectivity. Eligible institutions include libraries, medical and healthcare facilities, K-12 schools, institutions of higher education, public safety offices, government and tribal offices, and community support locations.
The grants are the most recent funding initiative in South Dakota. At the end of December, SolveForce a private sector telecom and internet services provider announced that it was expanding its dark fiber and access services inside the state. The company partners with fiber and internet service providers to gain access to future project maps and provide support services. The company is known for its ethernet services. SolveForce also offers Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) services which are portable broadband access points. These services are often used in less populated states where networks may have gaps.
So far, the increase in access across South Dakota has led to greater civic engagement. Some local churches have announced new worship applications and the Rapid City Police Department now offers virtual ridealongs through its Twitter account. The full NTIA accounting of broadband spending in South Dakota is available here.
South Dakota Broadband has also created this video outlining their broadband goals: