South Dakota's own figures show 67% of the state has access to broadband service from at least one internet provider and that this figure increases to 100% for public schools. Most of this provision is through DSL, with a lower degree of cable and the state having 7,000 miles of fiber optic cable. The figures gave no indication of the extent of wireless internet access. However, recent South Dakota maps show wifi hotspots clustered around the main urban areas, such as Sioux Falls and Rapid City, with large areas of the state with no coverage.
Earlier 2007 figures showed over 13% of households still relied on dial-up from their ISP. The 2009 Speed Matters survey put the average download speed at 5.0 mbps and the state ranked 27th, a marked improvement from 3.3 mbps and 39th place in 2008.
The South Dakota Board of Regents was considering funding broadband internet services in 2006. This was part of a project with North Dakota, Montana and Idaho to provide a high speed internet service for universities and research laboratories.
December 2009 saw the state awarded $1.39 million for broadband mapping and a further $500,000 for planning. The money went to South Dakota's Bureau of Information and Telecommunications, which had partnered with BroadMap to create a map of availability and identify those areas with no internet providers.
South Dakota Network (SDN), a partnership of 27 independent telecommunications providers, received $20 million the same month for its Connect South Dakota project. With $5 million added by the partners, this will create 140 miles of backbone network and 219 miles of middle mile spurs to add to SDN's existing 1850 mile network and link to anchor institutions such as schools and hospitals in remote areas.
A continental climate gives South Dakota cold, dry winters and hot, semi-humid summers. It is a largely rural state with low population density. Agriculture and related industries are key elements and service industries are the largest contributors to the economy.
Tourism is also important, with the Mount Rushmore National Memorial in the Black Hills being a major attraction. The state capital is Pierre while the largest cities are Sioux Falls, Rapid City, Aberdeen and Watertown.
Cities in South Dakota likely to have, or soon to receive, fiber optic cable internet services include Sioux Falls, Rapid City, Aberdeen, Watertown, Brookings and Pierre. Locations in SD with highest population counts will be targeted first by providers, though relatively high speeds can be achieved with dial-up or DSL through companies such as Netzero and Charter Communications Cable.