USDA Rural Utilities Administrator Jonathan Adelstein was a guest speaker earlier this week at the South Dakota Association of Telephone Cooperatives 2010 Annual Meeting and Conference. Adelstein spoke to a crowd of over 150 telephone cooperative managers and representatives on USDA Rural Development’s strong support towards improving rural telecommunications and broadband.
In conjunction with his presentation, Adelstein, Rural Development State Director Elsie Meeks, and Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin announced the awarding of more than $17.5 million to two South Dakota companies, Venture Communications Cooperative based in Highmore; and TrioTel Communications, Inc. based in Salem; for broadband infrastructure improvements and service expansion. The funding is provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
“These two companies have stepped up to ensure the residents in their service area have broadband service that is second to none. These investments will lay the foundation for economic development in rural South Dakota for years to come,” said Adelstein.
Venture Communications Cooperative will serve the Cresbard, Orient and Faulkton exchanges. The funding will provide broadband services to households, businesses, and key community organizations that are currently underserved. Seventy-six jobs are expected to be created or retained.
TrioTel Communications, Inc. funding to provide high speed internet service in the communities of Canova, Alexandria, Emery, Farmer, Salem, and Spencer, SD and their surrounding rural areas via a fiber-to-the-home network. This network will provide service to 1,654 households and 985 businesses in the area. Fifteen jobs are expected to be created or retained.
“Investing in broadband is critical for evolvement of economic opportunities and job growth in rural areas,” said South Dakota Rural Development State Director. Meeks. “Broadband brings communities into the digital age and allows them opportunities once only known to urban areas. These funds will bring high speed internet to the area which will help businesses, community leaders, education, safety, and public health centers expand services.”