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29 SD communities receive funds for telecommunications upgrades

Technology grants for projects totaling more than $285,000 were issued to 29 Community Anchor Institutions across South Dakota. This program is part of the federal Department of Commerce's National Telecommunication and Information Administration's State Broadband Initiative.

Project funding will provide technology improvements in the areas of:

• Firewalls, a form of cyber security, to protect computers against malware, spyware, viruses and other threatening content.

• Network switches to ensure uptime and stability as well as increase network speeds and performance.

• Wireless equipment for mobile connectivity and increased performance.

• New or additional laptops and desktops to provide access to broadband services.

Through this project funding, city and county offices will be able to offer public Wi-Fi at commission and board meetings, schools and libraries will have more computers and secured wireless access for students and patrons, and community centers will have opportunities to offer more technology access to their visitors.

The following local institutions were awarded funding through the grant application program. Details below include the Community Anchor Institutions and total project costs, including the requirement of the Community Anchor Institutions providing a 20 percent matching investment.

• Brule County, Chamberlain, $12,333.50.

• Dakota Discovery Museum, Mitchell, $12,355.00.

• Ethan School, Ethan, $12,101.19.

• Jerauld County, Wessington Springs, $5,415.75.

• Miner County, Howard, $11,964.88.

• Plankinton School District, Plankinton, $10,389.38.