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Rural internet access, reliability hinders development

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** March 15, 2019
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Rural South Dakotans told researchers from Old Dominion University and the University of South Dakota that their networks have insufficient coverage, capacity and speed for their business and personal needs.


** Internet access, reliability in rural areas hindering development
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South Dakota News Watch supporter:

South Dakota is threatened by a growing urban-rural digital divide, endangering residents’ quality of life and economic development efforts unless significant investments are made in advanced mobile technology, a new study suggests.

Researchers from the University of South Dakota and Virginia’s Old Dominion University interviewed and surveyed rural South Dakota residents last fall to determine their perceptions of coverage, capacity and speed of Internet access.

While South Dakota’s economy has outpaced national economic growth over the last two decades, Bob McNab, an economist and director of Old Dominion’s Center for Economic Analysis and Policy and the study’s lead author, says many participants indicated their rural networks have insufficient coverage, capacity and speed for basic health and safety, let alone quality of life.

Gov. Noem has outlined rural connectivity as a priority for her administration and federal agencies have several efforts underway. But progress is expensive and slow, and in the meantime rural residents struggle to run businesses and handle basic communication needs.

Reporter Tom Griffith examines the issue in the latest story from South Dakota News Watch.

Thank you for your support of South Dakota News Watch.

Randell Beck
Co-chair, South Dakota News Watch Board of Directors
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