Senator Thune Hopeful in Brining 5G to South Dakota

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.- Senator John Thune wants South Dakota to pave the way in bringing in the next generation of cellular service. Experts say 5G would change the way we communicate and increase access to the internet. It’s up to 20 times faster than the next best thing, 4G. Thune held a field hearing on the exciting, new technology at Carnegie Town Hall in Downtown Sioux Falls. He says that preparations need to start right away.

“Now is the time because if we wait any longer we’re going to be behind the game and somebody else is going to get all the economic benefits that comes from this,” said Thune.

He says this hearing is a good step towards making the service a reality here in South Dakota as it will take a coordinated effort.

FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr was at the meeting along with Sioux Falls Mayor Paul Tenhaken, who founded the tech company, Click Rain. They focused on the hurdles that states like South Dakota face and how to get 5G service to rural areas.

“These carriers like Golden West for example and I saw Denny Law was here today, are taking advantage of some of these federal incentives and programs and finding ways to make that investment and deploy to places that otherwise wouldn’t have it and I just think that we’ve gotta continue to have those types of incentives in place,” said Thune.

He says 5G will benefit the entire state economically.

“I do think it’s going to attract a lot of investment and the jobs that came with 4G were by the thousands, tens of thousands and so we think 5G’s going to be on multiples of that,” said Thune.

Thune says for South Dakota to be successful the next step is crucial.

“A lot of this stuff rides on the infrastructure and the infrastructure’s got to be there, the spectrums got to be there and those are things we are focused on trying to get into place to make sure that South Dakota benefits,” said Thune.

This infrastructure is a lot smaller than the towers used for 4G. The small cell poles can go on street lights.

Right now Thune is working to partner with state and local government, so they can lay the foundation to make 5G a reality in the next couple of years.

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