SDN Blog

SDN Communications One of 18 Companies in Nation to Receive Broadband Stimulus for More Internet Acc

Posted on Thursday, December 17, 2009

$20 million award

SDN Communications One of 18 Companies in Nation to Receive Broadband Stimulus for More Internet Access

DEC. 17, 2009 - SIOUX FALLS –Several South Dakota communities will receive enhanced access to broadband services thanks to a $20 million federal stimulus grant. Sioux Falls based SDN Communications and its owner/member companies will start construction in 2010 to provide that improved connectivity to rural hospitals, schools, libraries and public safety agencies.

SDN is owned by a partnership of the 18 independent telephone companies of South Dakota. They are cooperative, municipal, family and tribal-owned companies that serve 80 percent of the state’s geography in largely sparsely populated areas.

The National Telecommunications Information Administration’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) received almost 2,200 bidders for proposed projects worth more than $28 billion plus an additional $10.5 billion in matching funds for a total of $38 billion.

Earlier this morning, Vice President Joe Biden announced the first round of awards at a press conference in Georgia.

As one of the 18 companies across the country to receive a grant, SDN and its owner/member companies will be able to provide 10 Megabit per second service to 219 existing anchor institution customers in rural and underserved areas of the state and connect 305 new anchor institutions.

SDN will match the $20 million grant with a $5 million investment. It will have three years to complete a total of 359 miles of fiber optic network.

These additional broadband connections will help bridge the digital gap and boost economic development. Rural communities will be better equipped to attract high-tech jobs and talent in the long term, helping them compete on a world-wide scale.

SDN and its member companies have a proven record of providing access to rural communities and anchor institutions throughout the state. "Due to the costs involved with expanding the network to the most underserved areas of South Dakota, many of these anchor institutions would not have received additional middle mile or last mile access for several years," says SDN Communications CEO Mark Shlanta speaking on behalf of SDN and its member companies. "The stimulus grant allows us to move up our timeline to provide this needed access." (Middle mile is the term used when connections are built to an entire community to grant additional access to the Internet backbone. Last mile is used when connecting end users directly to that backbone.)