Claude Aiken’s Interview on RFD-TV’s Market Day Report
Earlier this week, Claude Aiken was able to join RFD-TV’s John Jenkinson on the channel’s Market Day Report to talk about what WISPs are doing to connect rural Americans with high-speed, broadband services. The following is both the video and transcript of that interview.
John Jenkinson: With more than 20 million Americans lacking affordable access to the high-speed Internet, the House Democratic leadership embarks on a new rural broadband task force to help get underserved rural communities online. And joining us now is Claude Aiken. He is CEO of the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association. Claude, thanks a lot for joining us this morning. Let’s start on some background on your WISPA and what the mission is.
Claude Aiken: Good morning, John. Thank you for having me here. So, WISPA is the voice of the fixed wireless industry in the United States. We represent about 800 small, mom-and-pop broadband providers that started in the heart of rural America. They provide service where nobody else does. They’ve done so with their own money, without government subsidies. And, we just want to help them provide more and better broadband to rural America.
John Jenkinson: Speak to your “rural first” policy when it comes to FCC programs and regulations.
Claude Aiken: Sure. What we’ve been trying to push at the USDA and FCC is that a lot of times, particularly when it comes to radio and spectrum policy, things are done in a way that tends to benefit urban areas. You see that’s just kind of the way things shake out. Now we’re talking about 5G radio technology coming to urban America. Well, a lot of rural America is stuck on “No G.” We’re asking for policies that will ensure that we have robust wireless service to rural America in addition to urban America. We believe the right path to that is to enable these small, rural providers, who are already there in rural America providing great service, to be able to do even more and provide even better coverage.
John Jenkinson: Claude, you were recently appointed to the FCC’s Broadband Development Advisory Committee. Tell us about the committee and what all it does.
Claude Aiken: This is a committee set up by Chairman Ajit Pai to help identify areas where the Federal Government can help with the deployment of broadband infrastructure across the nation. We appreciate the work of the Chairman. He said that the digital divide is his top priority. And I’m looking forward to working with the committee and all of its members in order to figure out ways that we can ensure that those folks who want to serve rural America are better able to do so through policies at the FCC and government-wide.
John Jenkinson: Well, thank you for all of your efforts, and congratulations, by the way. CEO of the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association, Claude Aiken, joining us here this morning on the Market Day Report.