This is a paid piece from Midco.
Simplified: More than 400 homes in southeastern South Dakota now have high-speed broadband access thanks to both Midco and federal coronavirus relief funds.
Why it matters
- Reliable internet is a necessity, especially as an increasing number of people shifted to working from home amid the pandemic.
- The federal CARES Act included funding for increasing internet access among those who didn't previously have it. Gov. Kristi Noem distributed those funds through the ConnectSD Broadband Grant program.
- Midco received two of the grants, and those funds helped bring connectivity to areas that previously lacked adequate internet access. That's in part because rural areas are harder for providers to serve cost effectively, according to Midco Director of Government Relations Andrew Curley.
"That's where a good public-private partnership like ConnectSD is helpful to serve areas that providers, like Midco, may not have otherwise been able to," Curley said.
Tell me more about each project.
One of the grants awarded Midco with $575,443 to bring phone, cable and internet connectivity to 243 homes and businesses in rural Tea and Harrisburg.
- The total project cost was over $1.4 million.
The other grant brought the telecommunications company another $418,331 to serve 195 homes and businesses in rural Vermillion.
- Total project cost in this case was just over $1 million.
Because the two projects were tied to federal CARES Act dollars, they both had to be completed by Dec. 31, 2021.
It wasn't easy, especially with current supply chain challenges, Curley said, but Midco was able to prioritize these projects and get them completed.
The federal funding covered no more than 40 percent of the total cost, Curley added, and the rest was Midco's investment into the community.
What does this mean for the people living in the areas now served by Midco?
They've now got access to a high-speed, reliable internet connection where they previously didn't have one.
Construction Manager Preston Ragle shared a story about a homeowner who saw the crews working in her area and asked if she'd have access to Midco's services. She shared that she worked from home and was tired of consistently losing her wireless connection.
"When our team reassured her that we were going to bring our service to her home, she responded, ‘That’s great to hear! Now I don’t have to sell my house and move.'"