ABERDEEN, S.D. – All across the Dakotas, rural communities are encountering a lack of adequate internet access—and in a time when many day-to-day activities continue to move online, this can be a problem. This problem is even more prevalent now that the COVID-19 pandemic is requiring students and adults to do work remotely online from home.
Agtegra Cooperative is doing its part to combat the shortage of quality internet access by offering free public Wi-Fi at several rural locations in an attempt to help provide better broadband internet to areas in need.
“Agtegra is excited to be able to offer Wi-Fi internet to people in some of our rural communities. Anytime we can do our part to support our local communities it is a real privilege. COVID-19 has highlighted so many needs and this was just one small way we could do our part to help out,” said Dan Rosenbaum, Agtegra’s Chief Information Officer.
The initial sites for the free public Wi-Fi include: Bath, Chamberlain, Huron, Lebanon, Mellette, Tulare and Wessington Springs, South Dakota and Hague, North Dakota. The free Wi-Fi officially began operating on May 11. Wi-Fi will only be accessible in certain areas at each location. Please look for the WiFi parking signs to guide you to the right area.
To access the wireless connection, individuals will simply have to connect to the Agtegra Public Wi-Fi and agree to the terms of service.
According to the FCC, 69 percent of rural Americans use the internet and 39 percent of those live-in areas that lack the FCC’s minimum definition of broadband service. The current standard – at least 25 megabits per second downloading and three megabits per second uploading – is deemed “adequate” to stream video and participate in other high-traffic online activities.
Because of this, many rural area members are at a disadvantage when it comes to online schooling, working from home, online food orders and other online necessities once only thought of as a luxury item.
Local public Wi-Fi spots:
Tulare (north end of building)
Mellette Agronomy (west side by seed treater)
Huron Warehouse (southeast side of the building)