South Dakota co-op targets rural areas with fiber, cable TV

While rural schools are the target of a fiber build being undertaken by South Dakota telecom co-op Valley Telecommunications, others outside metro/suburban limits will also benefit.

Farmers, often left on the other side of the broadband digital divide, will get better Internet speeds and cable TV, the co-op said.

Mainly, though, the co-op is using a $19 million USDA Rural Development loan to push higher speeds out to Hosmer, Leola and Ipswich in South Dakota.

"Given the isolation of so many of these communities it's so important that they be able to have that kind of connection to lots of resources," Elsie Meeks, USDA Rural Development State Director said in a story in the Aberdeen News.

Darin LaCoursiere, CEO and general manager of Valley, agreed.

"Our schools are so important to these rural communities and so it's important that they have the best services that are available," he told the newspaper.

The first to benefit from the fiber were rural residences with schools taking advantage of the connections that let students complete assignments at home, said Val Geffre, technology coordinator for the Leola School District. High school and junior high math and science classes are equipped with iPads in the classroom and there are "laptop carts" available for all grades.

For more:
- The Aberdeen News has this story

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