As the 37th most well-connected State in the US, South Dakota has both high and low points in terms of internet connectivity. At 74.5 Mbps, South Dakota has the second slowest average download speed of all the states nationwide. However, 61.9% of the state’s population has access to gigabit speeds, and 31.9% have access to fiber-optic internet services, which is higher than the national average. Coverage throughout South Dakota is relatively evenly dispersed, with the highest coverage for 25 Mbps speeds concentrated in the northwest and central parts of the state.
The Digital Divide in South Dakota
South Dakota’s digital divide – a term that constitutes the gap between those who have access to the latest telecommunications technology and those who do not – is not as marked as some states since the internet is fairly widely accessible to the majority of South Dakotans. Only one county lags far behind the others, with less than 35% of its citizens having access to a wired internet connection capable of 25 Mbps download speeds. On a statewide level, 89.4% of the population has access to this type of connection, while 84,000 of South Dakotans do not. There are 111 wired internet providers in South Dakota, but 23,000 people still do not have any wired options at their place of residence, and another 222,000 people only have access to one wired provider, leaving them limited in their choices of plans and services.
Current affordability data shows that the majority of South Dakotans (63.2%) have access to a low-priced internet plan costing equal to or less than $60 per month. This is well over the national average of 51.5% of Americans with access to the same.
Many areas of South Dakota experience strong coverage and high internet accessibility. However, the cities with the best connection are Sioux Falls, Howard, Garretson, Ellsworth Afb, and Black Hawk, with the highest-ranking coming first in the list. Speed tests reveal that the city of Garretson has a particularly high average download speed of 413.81 Mbps.
South Dakota’s Bureau of Information and Telecommunications (BIT) has been the beneficiary of over $5.7 million in federal grants for South Dakota’s Broadband Initiative, along with an additional $20,572,242 in infrastructure grants, aimed at expanding South Dakota’s broadband infrastructure.
In recent years, the current legislature has approved the initiation of a new program, Connect South Dakota. Backed by $5 million in grant money, the program is set to target underserved and unserved areas of the state, in an effort to expand broadband accessibility.
The information above has been curated from a blend of public and private datasets. Read up on our data here.