SIOUX FALLS, S.D. Rural America is integral in powering most of South Dakota's economy, but these areas have even more potential. State and federal leaders say the internet infrastructure is long overdue, but it is slowly appearing in the communities that have been deprived of it. Aside from larger cities like Sioux Falls and Rapid City, there are much smaller areas encompassing the more than 77,000 square miles of South Dakota waiting for this infrastructure. In Brookings, South Dakota State University's agricultural education exemplifies how improved internet can expand opportunities. The ability to analyze terabytes worth of data can determine the health of a field of crops much more quickly than a human could.
"To put it in perspective, the library of congress holds 15 terabytes of data, so the average cornfield holds 28 times as much data to be processed in the growing season," said South Dakota State University's Doctor Michael Adelaine. Adelaine is the Vice President for Technology and Security at the university and knows that in order to transfer that much data, expanded broadband will be crucial to future agriculture experts and current ones.
The Federal Communications Commission did approve nearly $705.5 million dollars for South Dakota to improve broadband connection over the next ten years. During this development time, advocates also are pushing for cybersecurity to keep up at the same time.