As the South Dakota Legislative Session begins, Governor Kristi Noem looks to start planting seeds that will eventually become harvested by the next generation.

In her first address to the South Dakota Legislature, Noem praises the fiscal responsibility of her predecessor, but also put forth a series of proposals to prepare for the future. Number one priority is access to the internet as the majority of jobs in the coming decades will require sophisticated technology.

“The jobs our children will depend on to support families of their own will almost certainly require access to technology. We must make sure that we are making those investments now. Internet access is taken for granted in our urban settings, but that’s not the case in rural areas. There are many rural areas of our state where the lack of access is widespread.”

Noem feels that a solution should come through partnerships between state government and experts in the field.

“State government can’t tackle this alone. So to accomplish this goal, we’re going to bring industry leaders together. Our state’s rural telecom companies, in particular, have considerable experience in bringing broadband service to our rural areas. Our state’s other wireline service providers have an important role to play as well.”

As part of the solution, Noem hopes to bring companies with emerging technologies into the state and maximize the expansion of 5G wireless networks.

Additionally, Noem wants to identify the current deficiencies in broadband coverage across South Dakota with the goal of closing gaps in the system by the prudent allocation of state resources.

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