In an opinion piece for the Huffington Post, U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Javier Palomarez (who is also one of our Broadband Ambassadors) highlights the important role wired and wireless broadband play in the health of small businesses:
Perhaps one of the most effective means to small business opportunity and expansion has been the deployment and availability of high-speed Internet. The Internet has enabled both individuals and businesses to connect virtually, tearing down geographical constraints and allowing for larger customer bases nationally and globally. As mobile broadband increasingly becomes the Hispanic community’s primary choice for connecting to the Internet, more advanced and higher-speed networks are driving continued growth and new business models. Mobility has allowed business operations to expand, and in turn have allowed job-creators to be more competitive in the global market - offering goods and services anytime, anywhere.
To continue unleashing the business and social potential enabled by wireless technology, however, depends on making enough “spectrum” available to the mobile providers, so they can keep up with consumer demand and continue to offer high-speed and dependable service at lower costs to producers.
Head on over to the Huffington Post to read Palomarez’s full piece.
Over at FoxNews Latino, Kristian Ramos examines the negative effects America’s coming spectrum crunch could have on the Hispanic community:
While [Hispanic broadband adoption] gains are impressive, a looming spectrum crunch could stagnate some of the growth Hispanics are currently seeing in accessing the internet. Cost has always been an inhibitor of access for Hispanics and the Internet. We are currently at 80 percent of spectrum capacity. Mobile Media carriers are already putting caps on their Internet service, which translates into extra fees to use wireless capabilities on smart phones.
To ensure that Hispanics are able to engage in mobile activism we need to make sure their access is not diminished in a spectrum crunch. Jonathon Spalter, president of Mobile Future, said in an address to the Minority Media and Telecom Council that even with these new caps the possibility that we will run out of spectrum soon is very real. The loss of easy access to spectrum would quickly erase the gains made in bridging the digital divide.
Ramos’ full piece is definitely worth checking out.
We’re starting a new series here on the blog where we hand the reigns over to one of our members to write about broadband and technology. In this first installment, Jason A. Llorenz, Executive Director of the Hispanic Technology and Telecommunications Partnership (or HTTP) writes about Hispanic Heritage Month and the need to ensure everyone in America has access to the power of broadband. You can follow HTTP on Twitter @hispanicttp. — IIA.
In celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, we are reminded of the progress made, and the struggles ahead for America’s fastest-growing community. This month, we celebrate the accomplishments of Latinos in politics, business, and every American sphere. Latinos have progressed, and continue to grow in buying power, educational attainment and number. The work of ensuring Latino participation in all aspects of American life must also include ensuring full digital inclusion – the advancement of digitally literate communities who are online and ready to leverage digital tools across their lives.
As the executive director of the Hispanic Technology and Telecommunications Partnership (HTTP), I am proud to represent a coalition of national and regional Hispanic organizations working to increase awareness of the impact of technology and telecommunications policy on the U.S. Hispanic community. As a coalition, HTTP’s members support policies that promote universal access to, and adoption of technology, including broadband Internet. As members of the Internet Innovation Alliance, we support the policies, partnerships and private-sector opportunities to ensure investment leading to expanded broadband access and innovation that makes the Internet more useful to this community.
We care about these policy and business matters for important reasons. According to the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, 51 percent of Hispanics access the Internet via a mobile device, while only 33 percent of whites do. The mobile platform has proven to be an accessible “on-ramp” to the Internet while many Latinos continue to lag in adoption of home broadband. Ensuring that Latinos are online, and using the Internet in their daily lives to access education, healthcare and other opportunities is a key to ensuring the future prosperity for the community.
Latinos continue to lead in entrepreneurship — establishing a record number of new businesses. With broadband Internet, small businesses can reduce operating costs while increasing their competitive edge. Broadband access allows business owners, even home-based businesses, to take full advantage of the global digital economy by having real time access to market data, paying bills online, conducting market research through social media, and improving the efficiency of their business operations. It also allows businesses to connect to new markets a few towns or a continent away. These efficiencies can lead to growth and job creation.
The benefits of broadband are not just tied to business. A digital connection also produces significant benefits for individuals and families. For example, broadband access can reduce the cost of delivering high-quality healthcare, especially in rural areas where the closest hospital maybe more than 100 miles away. With broadband Internet, doctors can provide timely diagnoses through remote consultations, saving patients the time and expense of traveling to the doctor’s office (10 Benefits of Health IT). Emerging mobile health and distance healthcare technology offer a significant opportunity to address the health disparities facing the most vulnerable, rural and mobile Latino communities.
For Hispanics, broadband Internet access is no longer a luxury but a competitive necessity. Without reliable access, businesses and individuals will miss out on opportunities and information, putting them at a disadvantage in today’s digital economy. That is why the Hispanic Technology and Telecommunications Partnership is proud to add its voice to the call for the deployment of broadband Internet throughout our country, and national attention to realizing universal digital literacy. It is, in fact, the quickly emerging American communities who will benefit most from the rapid deployment of technology in the digital age.
— Jason A. Llorenz, Esq.
Earlier this month, IIA Strategic Counsel Henry M. Rivera spoke as the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement’s Leadership Development & Educational Conference. After his speech, he sat down with James Ferré of Caribbean Business to talk about mobile broadband adoption in the Hispanic community, and the roll the planned merger of AT&T and T-Mobile can play in closing the digital divide:
In 2008, Hispanic Internet adoption increased to 54%, while overall U.S. Internet access was 69%. When it comes to mobile Internet, however, Hispanics are among the most avid adopters. Their 53% rate of mobile-Internet adoption trails that of African Americans, but is far ahead of whites (33%), according to a study by the Hispanic Institute.
“That is why wireless [broadband Internet] is so important for Hispanics,” Rivera said.
Full text of Rivera’s speech at the Leadership Development & Educational Conference is available here.
In an op-ed for the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Javier Palomarez writes about encouraging economic growth by expanding wireless broadband access, and how AT&T’s merger with T-Mobile is a major step in the right direction. Here’s an excerpt:
AT&T recently announced plans to acquire T-Mobile and deliver next-generation, high-speed “4G LTE” broadband access to millions more Americans — specifically, to more than 97 percent of the country. Granting all areas — East, West, North, South — access to advanced mobile broadband will enable our nation’s 3 million Hispanic-owned businesses to flourish, streamline growth and generate revenue which will flow throughout these communities.
Palomarez’s full op-ed is worth checking out.
A new report from Pew has some encouraging news about Internet use in the Hispanic community:
From 2006 to 2008, internet use among Latino adults rose by 10 percentage points, from 54% to 64%. In comparison, the rates for whites rose four percentage points, and the rates for blacks rose only two percentage points during that time period.
Latinos still trail whites in Internet use, but the Pew report shows that the gap is diminishing. Unfortunately, when it comes to broadband adoption at home, the Hispanic community saw very little change — from 79% of Internet users in 2007, to 81% in 2008.
The full Pew report is available here (PDF)