Home Uncategorised Best Internet Providers in South Dakota – CNET

Best Internet Providers in South Dakota – CNET


What is the best internet provider in South Dakota?

We’ve also found the top options if you’re hunting for the lowest prices or fastest speeds. And we’ve come to a conclusion that Midco is the best internet service provider overall for most households in South Dakota. The service is affordable, available widely and has a solid customer service reputation. That being said, Midco service isn’t available everywhere in South Dakota, so Bluepeak or Golden West are also solid picks, depending on what’s available in your area. 

The cheapest wired internet in South Dakota comes from Midco’s $29 introductory deal for its 250 megabits per second plan, though you may find the starting price is higher in some locations. The fastest internet speed in South Dakota is 5,000Mbps (five gigabits per second) from Bluepeak and Midco, but it’s found only within their limited fiber footprints. There are more ISPs in South Dakota than we’ve included in this guide. You may find smaller providers and local cooperatives that provide broadband to specific parts of the state.

Best internet in South Dakota

South Dakota internet providers compared

Provider Internet technology Monthly price range Speed range Monthly equipment costs Data cap Contract CNET review score
Alliance Communications Fiber $50-$80 300-1,000Mbps $10 (optional) None None N/A
Bluepeak Fiber/cable $40-$100 200-5,000Mbps Varies None None N/A
Celerity Internet Fixed wireless $55-$105 25-100Mbps $10 (optional) None One-year N/A
CenturyLink DSL
Read full review
DSL $55 3-100Mbps $15 (optional) None None 6.7
Golden West Fiber/DSL $60-$100 25-1,000Mbps $6 (optional) None None N/A
Read full review
Cable $35-$70 100-1,000Mbps $14 (optional) Varies None 6.4
Midco Cable/fiber/fixed wireless  $29-$249 35-5,000Mbps Varies None None N/A
Quantum Fiber Fiber $50-$75 500-940Mbps None None None 6.7
T-Mobile Home Internet
Read full review
Fixed wireless $50 ($30 with eligible mobile plans) 72-245Mbps None None None 7.4
Verizon 5G Home Internet
Read full review
Fixed wireless $50-$70 ($35-$45 for eligible Verizon Wireless customers) 50-300Mbps None None None 7.2

Show more (6 items)

Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

Rural internet options in South Dakota

  • Celerity Internet: Celerity started in the Spearfish area and expanded its fixed wireless network from there. It now covers broad areas around Deadwood and Rapid City and across the central-eastern region of the state. Plans start at $55 per month for 25Mbps and go up to $105 monthly for 100Mbps with a one-year contract. There are no data caps. Celerity also provides fiber to Prairie Haven Estates in Piedmont. Here’s how fixed wireless compares to other types of internet connections.
  • CenturyLink: CenturyLink’s old-school DSL network reaches around Rapid City and Pierre and covers some eastern parts of the state. It may be the only wired option for some rural homes. There’s one plan at $55 per month with an optional $15 per month equipment lease. Speeds, however, may be slow. If you’re lucky, you may be able to get up to 100Mbps, or you may qualify for only 3Mbps. CenturyLink’s sibling Quantum Fiber service is available in very limited areas, but you’re not likely to find it if you live in the boonies.
  • GigFire: Fixed wireless and fiber ISP GigFire services a chunk of far-east South Dakota, including parts of Huron, Watertown, Brookings and Madison. Fixed wireless plans for rural areas run $70 per month for 150Mbps downloads with no contracts, no data caps and Wi-Fi gear included. Standard installation is $99. GigFire has been expanding its fiber-to-the-home offerings with speeds up to 2,000Mbps, but rural residents are more likely to connect via fixed wireless.
  • Interlakes Wireless: Interlakes Wireless in Chester offers a $55-per-month fixed wireless residential plan with download speeds up to 100Mbps. Data is unlimited. Installation costs $200. Service reaches Lake Madison, Lake Herman, Lake Brant and surrounding rural areas. 
  • Leap Communications: Leap focuses on the South Dakota plains. Fixed wireless plans range from 10 to 100Mbps at monthly prices of $45 to $115. There are no contracts or data caps. Leap has been pushing to bring fiber to its service area to provide a faster alternative to its fixed wireless network. 
  • Rise Broadband: Rise specializes in rural fixed wireless internet with typical download speeds ranging from 25 to 100Mbps. Speed levels will vary with your location. For example, Rise offers a $55-per-month 25Mbps plan with unlimited data to some addresses near Sioux Falls. You may be able to find a free equipment rental and installation deal. 
  • Santel Communications: Residents of small towns from Wolsey down to Tripp can check in with Santel for fast fiber hookups. Pricing is a bit higher than you’ll find in the cities but worthwhile for the reliability and symmetrical speeds. Plans start at $90 per month for 250Mbps and top out at $150 for 1,000Mbps. Wi-Fi gear is included. 
  • Venture Communications: Venture started as a telephone company focusing on rural central and northeast South Dakota. It now offers fiber internet to various small towns where you might be surprised to find such fast broadband. Prices range from $69 for 100Mbps service to $121 for 1,000Mbps. There are no data caps. 
  • Satellite internet: While local and regional ISPs have done a valiant job of connecting some of the more remote towns and communities in South Dakota, there are still places that may not be able to access adequate broadband from wired or fixed wireless connections. That’s where satellite from Starlink, Viasat and HughesNet comes in. Prices can be high, and speeds may be variable, but it may also be your best shot at getting online from a remote home.

Stefano Salvetti/Getty Images

Internet breakdown by city in South Dakota

It’s hard to cover the broadband options of a state like South Dakota and give individual cities the attention they deserve. That’s why we also compile lists of the best internet providers in cities across the US, including those in South Dakota. We tackle details such as internet connection types, max speeds, cheapest providers and more. Check back later if you don’t find the city you’re looking for below. We’re working to add more cities every week. 

Cheap internet options in South Dakota

While Midco’s prices can vary depending on location, some customers may be able to get its $29-per-month 250Mbps plan for either cable or fiber. Starting prices vary depending on your location and any special offers that may be in effect. I recently spotted a limited-time Midco deal of $23 monthly for 250Mbps. Fiber is preferable due to the symmetrical upload speed. That’s a decent bargain for that speed level, but keep in mind that pricing will increase to $65 per month after the introductory period.

Verizon or T-Mobile phone customers can look into bundling plans to get a discount on home internet, bringing prices down as low as $35 per month with Verizon or $30 per month with T-Mobile. However, South Dakota doesn’t have the greatest 5G coverage across the state, so you may have trouble finding an open slot for 5G home internet service. South Dakotans on tight incomes should check into the federal Affordable Connectivity Program. Eligible households can get free or cheap internet through the program. Most ISPs participate.

What’s the cheapest internet plan in South Dakota?

Plan Starting monthly price Monthly equipment fee Max download speed (Mbps)
Midco $29 250Mbps Varies
Bluepeak 200 $40 200Mbps Varies
Alliance Communications $50 300Mbps $10 (optional)
Bluepeak 1 Gig Fiber $50 1,000Mbps None
T-Mobile Home Internet
Read full review
$50 ($30 with eligible mobile plans) 245Mbps None
Verizon 5G Home Internet
Read full review
$50 ($35 with eligible mobile plans) 100Mbps None
Quantum Fiber $50 500Mbps None
CenturyLink DSL
Read full review
$55 100Mbps $15 (optional)

Show more (4 items)

Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

How many members of your household use the internet?

How to find internet deals and promotions in South Dakota

The best internet deals and top promotions in South Dakota depend on what discounts are available during a given period. Most deals are short-lived, but we look frequently for the latest offers. 

South Dakota internet providers, such as Midco, may offer lower introductory pricing or streaming add-ons for a limited time. Others, including CenturyLink, Quantum Fiber and T-Mobile Home Internet, tend to run the same standard pricing year-round. 

For a more extensive list of promos, check out our guide on the best internet deals. 

How fast is South Dakota broadband?

South Dakota’s broadband prospects are a mixed bag. A recent Ookla speed test ranking of states placed South Dakota 35th with a median download speed of 189Mbps. That doesn’t tell the whole story, though. City dwellers are likely to have gig cable (and even 5-gig fiber in some places) as an option, but there are also quite a few small towns with fiber networks. Regional and local ISPs deliver fiber up to 5,000Mbps in some spots, including rural areas where you might not expect to find such fast connections. Golden West is an ISP to look for if you’re shopping for internet in a rural community.

Fastest internet plans in South Dakota

Plan Starting price Max download speeds (Mbps) Max upload speeds (Mbps) Connection type
Bluepeak 5 Gig $100 5,000Mbps 5,000Mbps Fiber
Midco Fiber Internet 5 Gig $249 5,000Mbps 5,000Mbps Fiber
Bluepeak 2 Gig $65 2,000Mbps 2,000Mbps Fiber
Midco Fiber Internet 2 Gig $129 2,000Mbps 2,000Mbps Fiber
Bluepeak 1 Gig  $50 1,000Mbps 1,000Mbps Fiber
Bluepeak 1 Gig  $75 1,000Mbps 30Mbps Cable
Alliance Communications $80 1,000Mbps 1,000Mbps Fiber
Midco Fiber Internet Gig $49 1,000Mbps 1,000Mbps Fiber
Midco Gig Internet $49 1,000Mbps 50Mbps Cable
Golden West $100 1,000Mbps 1,000Mbps Fiber
Quantum Fiber $75 940Mbps 940Mbps Fiber

Show more (6 items)

Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

What’s a good internet speed?

Most internet connection plans can now handle basic productivity and communication tasks. If you’re looking for an internet plan that can accommodate videoconferencing, streaming video or gaming, you’ll have a better experience with a more robust connection. Here’s an overview of the recommended minimum download speeds for various applications, according to the FCC. Note that these are only guidelines — and that internet speed, service and performance vary by connection type, provider and address.

For more information, refer to our guide on how much internet speed you really need.

  • 0 to 5Mbps allows you to tackle the basics — browsing the internet, sending and receiving email, streaming low-quality video.
  • 5 to 40Mbps gives you higher-quality video streaming and videoconferencing.
  • 40 to 100Mbps should give one user sufficient bandwidth to satisfy the demands of modern telecommuting, video streaming and online gaming. 
  • 100 to 500Mbps allows one to two users to simultaneously engage in high-bandwidth activities like videoconferencing, streaming and gaming. 
  • 500 to 1,000Mbps allows three or more users to engage in high-bandwidth activities at the same time.

How CNET chose the best internet providers in South Dakota

Internet service providers are numerous and regional. Unlike the latest smartphone, laptop, router or kitchen tool, it’s impractical to personally test every internet service provider in a given city. So what’s our approach? For starters, we tap into a proprietary pricing, availability and speed database that draws from our own historical ISP data, partner data and mapping information from the Federal Communications Commission at FCC.gov. 

But it doesn’t end there. We use the FCC’s website to check our data and ensure we consider every ISP that provides service in an area. We also input local addresses on provider websites to find specific options for residents. We look at sources, including the American Customer Satisfaction Index and J.D. Power, to evaluate how happy customers are with an ISP’s service. ISP plans and prices are subject to frequent changes; all information provided is accurate as of publication. 

Once we have this localized information, we ask three main questions: 

  • Does the provider offer access to reasonably fast internet speeds? 
  • Do customers get decent value for what they’re paying? 
  • Are customers happy with their service? 

While the answer to those questions is often layered and complex, the providers who come closest to “yes” on all three are the ones we recommend. When selecting the cheapest internet service, we look for the plans with the lowest monthly fee, though we also factor in things like price increases, equipment fees and contracts. Choosing the fastest internet service is relatively straightforward. We look at advertised upload and download speeds and consider real-world speed data from sources like Ookla and FCC reports.

To explore our process in more depth, visit our page on how we test ISPs.

What’s the final word on internet providers in South Dakota?

Your best choice for an ISP in South Dakota depends on your location and which networks reach your home. Midco is a top contender due to its wide availability and triple-threat approach to providing cable, fiber and fixed wireless coverage. That helps it reach various places, from cities to rural districts. Pricing is reasonable, and you may luck out with a very affordable $29-per-month introductory deal. But don’t sleep on Bluepeak as an option. Like Midco, Bluepeak offers fiber up to 5,000Mbps in some areas. 

Some rural and small-town residents may be able to get online via fast fiber connections, thanks to local and regional ISPs that specialize in serving those communities. Look for DSL or fixed wireless options if fiber doesn’t work out. As a last resort, check into satellite internet for homes outside the coverage zones of other ISPs. 

Internet providers in South Dakota FAQs

Who is the cheapest internet provider in South Dakota?

Midco’s $29-per-month introductory deal for 250Mbps service in some areas is about as cheap as you’ll find for wired internet plans in the state. Bargain hunters can look to bundle an eligible Verizon or T-Mobile phone plan with a 5G home internet plan for substantial savings.

Which internet provider in South Dakota offers the fastest plan?

Midco and Bluepeak both vie for the fastest plans in South Dakota, with 5,000Mbps fiber speeds in some areas. 

Is fiber internet available in South Dakota?

Pockets of fiber are scattered throughout South Dakota. There is limited availability of Quantum Fiber service. You’ll also find some fiber from Bluepeak and Midco with speeds up to 5,000Mbps. Some towns have their own fiber networks available, like Swiftel Communications in Brookings. Limited areas in southeastern South Dakota can connect via regional ISP Alliance Communications. Check with Venture Communications if you live in central or northeastern South Dakota. In the state’s southern half, look to Golden West for fiber service in a wide selection of smaller towns.

What internet provider has the best coverage in South Dakota?

The FCC National Broadband Map shows Midco’s combination of cable, fiber and fixed wireless networks reaches nearly 59% of South Dakota homes. The ISP’s fiber offering isn’t as widespread as its cable and fixed wireless networks. Rural residents are most likely to use the fixed wireless option.

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