South Dakotans invited to participate in broadband survey

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Contact(s)

Contact: Heidi Kolbeck-Urlacher, senior policy associate, heidiku@cfra.org, 605.240.0039; Teresa Hoffman, senior communications associate, teresah@cfra.org, 402.687.2100, ext. 1012

BRANDON, SOUTH DAKOTA – Internet access is a critical component of everyday life. Even so, many areas in South Dakota are lacking reliable service. 

To help better understand the broadband needs in the state, the Center for Rural Affairs is conducting an online survey to assess residents' broadband access and digital skills. The survey takes a few minutes to complete. 

“We want to know more about broadband in South Dakota and want to hear directly from community members,” said Heidi Kolbeck-Urlacher, senior policy associate for the Center. “Our project seeks to identify citizens with limited broadband capability, determine the reasons for this lack of access, and highlight these experiences so they are not left out of efforts to expand broadband,” 

According to Jim Edman, South Dakota’s Chief Information Security Officer, 135,000 people—or 1 in 6 South Dakotans—currently lack adequate broadband access. Additionally, in 2019 Gov. Kristi Noem said that within half of South Dakota’s rural counties, 25% of residents lack adequate internet access, and in some counties up to half of residents lack access. 

Kolbeck-Urlacher said information from the survey will guide outreach efforts with community and economic development professionals in an effort to increase digital inclusion and literacy. 

“Rather than focusing solely on investment in expansion, there must be a community-driven and systemic approach to ensure the real needs of citizens are captured and met by efforts to increase broadband access,” Kolbeck-Urlacher said. 

To take the survey, visit cfra.org/SD-broadband-survey. For questions, contact Kolbeck-Urlacher via email at heidiku@cfra.org.

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