$24 Million Improvement Set to Close the Rural Digital Divide

Over the next 60 months, Santel will be adding “575” miles of fiber cable capable of handling speeds of up to a Gigabit (1,000 Mbps) for each patron. The new service, FiberMaxx, means Maximum Internet. “Our goal is to connect farms, homes and businesses within our service area to a fiber network able to move data as quickly as any big city in the US,” said Thompson. Fiber optic networks are known to be the fastest, most reliable, long-term cost-effective method for delivering broadband Internet over long distances. Through FTTH (Fiber to the Home), Santel strives to connect the divide that currently leaves millions of rural Americans with an Internet connection unable to keep up with modern needs.

Left to right; Chris Nelson, Public Utilities Commissioner (PUC), Kristie Fiegen, Chairperson of PUC, Joe Fiala, Governor’s office of Economic Development (GOED), Tiffany Hoffman, Letcher Community Development Foundation, Mark Chada, Mayor of Letcher, Jeff Ebersdorfer, Dakota Heartland Development Assn., Richard Alt, President, Santel Communications, Board of Directors, Jerry Jenssen, Santel Communications, Board of Directors, Kent Swenson, Santel Communications, Board of Directors, Becky Pitz, Santel Communications, Board of Directors, Bryan Hisel, Executive Director, Mitchell Area Development Corporation, Ryan Thompson, General Manager, Santel Communications

Aurora County

Thanks to the District 20 representatives and candidates, for attending and supporting the positive economic impact on their constituents.   District 20 is in Aurora County on the West side of the Santel Territory.

Left to right;

Paul Miskimins, District 20 House candidate

Lance Koth District 20 House candidate

Tona Rozum, District 20 House Representative

Josh Klumb, District 20 Senator

Sanborn County

District 8 Senator, Jordan Youngberg discussing the 5-year strategy with Ryan Thompson

South Dakota

Kristie Fiegen, Chairperson of Public Utilities Commission

Kristie, expresses her support for Santel’s investment into the network.   Due to the positive economic impact it will have on the rural communities.

Kristie Fiegen, Chairperson of Public Utilities Commission and Ryan Thompson, GM at Santel discuss implementation map for FiberMaxx Maximum Internet.

South Dakota

Jim Fiala, Governors Council of Economic Development (GEOD), Discusses with Letcher Community Development Foundation how Santel’s fiber optics installation improves the state’s ability to bring new business and industry into the state and into the local areas.

Left to right; Mark Chada, Letcher Mayor

Tiffany Hoffman, Dawna VanOverschelde, Angie Fridley

Jim Fiala, Governors Council of Economic Development (GEOD)


 South Dakota John Thune’s office

Ben Ready, SE District Director for Senator John Thune, talks of Senator Thune’s support for investment included that of Santel.

Santel will be updating coop patrons individually on the project as it moves forward. Updates are also available at www.santel.coop/serviceareas , specifically detailing the progress of FiberMaxx.

 Ryan Thompson, GM of Santel Communications, opening the Big Dig ceremony.

Thompson added, “We know the appeal of living in smaller communities and farms in South Dakota. This new fiber network addition is another way for us to technically and economically enable our owners who love life in rural South Dakota. You’ll no longer have to sacrifice Internet service because of the place you chose to live.”

-Randy Northrup July 2018