Golden West Telecom Gets $1.7-M USDA Grant For Fiber Optic Service West Of EdgemontPosted by John AxtellDate: October 01, 2020121 ViewsGolden West Telecommunications Cooperative has been awarded a $1.7 million dollar USDA Rural Development ReConnect grant to provide fiber optic broadband service west of Edgemont in both South Dakota and Wyoming. USDA Rural Development South Dakota Director Julie Gross calls the project “life-changing” with participants able to have access to distance learning and telemedicine while pulling down data faster for precision agriculture. Golden West CEO Denny Law says the grant completes the funding for a $2.5-million dollar project that’s been 2 years in planning. When it’s finished next year, there will be a fiber-to-the-premises network bringing high-speed broadband internet service to 218 people, 65 farms and ranches, 5 businesses and one essential community facility. Law says it will help level the technological playing field for rural residents because fiber optics is the superior technology to provide the best broadband services with the fastest speeds and the highest reliability. Law is excited about the project, saying the participants “will have state of the art broadband that is comparable and quite frankly superior to what they may receive in some of the major urban areas.” The ReConnect project is in addition to other projects that will see Golden West add some 500 miles of fiber and upgrade service for about 2,000 more of its members this year. About 2/3rds of its members already have fiber-optic service.