A big name from Washington, D.C. was in KELOLAND on Tuesday touring Midco facilities; Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai was in Sioux Falls zeroing in on connectivity.
“One of the reasons why we’re here in the Great Plains and in South Dakota in particular is to explore some of the issues surrounding the digital divide: that gap between Americans who have access to the internet, and those who don’t,” Pai said.
To help with that divide here in KELOLAND, Midco received nearly $39 million from the Connect America Fund auction last year.
“We’re using that money to deploy fixed wireless services to our rural neighbors and friends,” Midco Chief Legal Officer Scott Anderson said. “So it’s part of what we call our Midco Edge Out strategy, so we’re pushing fiber deeper into neighborhoods, deeper into rural areas, and then from the edges of the fiber, we’re using fixed wireless service to push the internet signals out further to farms and rural businesses.”
“There’s no substitute to me to getting out into the countryside, meeting Americans who are confronting some of the challenges with a digital divide, understanding how they’re confronting those challenges, and figuring out what the FCC can do to help,” Pai said.
When asked what he learned during his time in South Dakota, the FCC chairman complimented Midco.
“To me at least I gain a first-hand appreciation for the challenges of running a network like this. Broadband infrastructure and service doesn’t grow on trees,” Pai said. “It takes a lot of really talented, dedicated people to make it happen.”