In a piece for Politic365, Hispanic Leadership Fund President Mario H. Lopez (HLF is an IIA Member) writes about how the Hispanic community is leading the charge in adopting mobile broadband:
The modern Hispanic community is not only going mobile, but it’s outpacing the general population in doing so. Survey data tells an incredible story of how far our community has come in a short time in adopting new technologies. ComScore tells us that in two years (2010-2012), Hispanic adoption of smartphones increased from 43 percent to 57 percent whereas adoption of smartphones among the general population increased from 36 percent to 46 percent. And as recent data from Pew shows, 76 percent of Hispanics are more likely to use their mobile devices to go online.
Mobile Internet connectivity gives Hispanics access to the civic, health, social, and entertainment content that they crave. At a time when economic growth and employment remains sluggish, mobile Internet access allows Hispanics to search for work and take advantage of online training and education. Mobile Internet also keeps Hispanic entrepreneurs and innovators connected to their customers.
Keeping this positive trend going, Lopez argues, will take smart regulatory policy:
Opportunities available to Hispanics are on the rise, and our community is leveraging the economic and social benefits of mobile broadband to make the most of them. Policymakers in Washington must recognize this growing trend and do everything in the power to support it. In recent years the FCC has made some progress on the spectrum front.
It will be important for successors to outgoing FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and Commissioner Robert McDowell to speed up that progress and act upon the need to free up more spectrum for commercial use. The use of broadband connectivity will continue to be a crucial factor in creating jobs and economic growth, spurring innovation, and generating educational opportunities for all Americans.
The groups cited several specific areas in which commitments by AT&T as part of the merger process are likely to help Latinos. In strong terms, the groups urged the FCC to consider the combined companies’ commitment to expanding culturally sensitive education programs and robust internet adoption programs. Hispanic Americans have a special interest in these since Latino digital literacy rates are far behind the national average, especially for Spanish-speaking families. This acquisition, they write, “could be a catalyst for opening up high speed wireless broadband networks to underserved communities.”
Two blog posts to highlight on this monday, both with a common theme: The first is from Hispanic Marketing & Public Relations, where communications attorney Jorge Bauermeister highlights that while Hispanics remain on the wrong side of the digital divide, there is growing momentum thanks to mobile broadband:
According to a recent report by the Pew Hispanic Center, a link between Internet and cell phone adoption rates and levels of educational attainment and household income exists – the higher the educational attainment and income, the higher the rate of use. For many Hispanic families, access to broadband and cell phones continues to be a challenge for a range of reasons, including financial challenges – among other considerations.
The Pew Hispanic Center study also found Hispanics to be less likely than Caucasians to use the Internet, have a home broadband connection, or own a cellular phone. However, while only 45% of Latinos have home broadband access (compared to 52% of African Americans and 65% of white Americans), younger Latinos are increasingly going online and using their cell phones. In fact, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, “from 2009 to 2010, the share of Latinos ages 18 to 29 who were online jumped from 75% to 85%, and the share with cell phones rose from 81% to 90%.”
Next up is a guest editorial at Latina Lista penned by Jason A. Llorenz, Executive Director of the Hispanic Technology and Telecommunications Partnership (and an IIA Broadband Ambassador). After digging even deeper into the digital divide problem, he encourages policymakers to help, rather than hinder, efforts to bridge it:
The digital economy means digital skills are not only a matter of economic necessity but survival in the globally connected and competitive marketplace. With public policies that favor broadband access and the expansion of digital skills, small businesses will prosper and strengthen the communities they serve.
The challenges are real and so is the potential to ensure our nation’s continued prosperity. Ultimately, policymakers and businesses leaders must recognize the importance of policies that support digital literacy to fuel innovation and drive the recovery that we expect for America.
Portada points to a new report from the U.S. Department of Commerce that shows for Hispanic Americans the digital divide is still in place, despite some recent gains:
43,08% of Hispanics use a broadband (39.74%) or dial up connection (2.98%) at home, while 49.31% uses the internet either at home or anywhere. The percentage of Hispanics who do not have Internet access lies at 50.69% in comparison with a 25.68% ratio for White Non Hispanic.
The Hispanic Institute has released a new report on broadband adoption and minority communities. Multichannel News looks at some of the report’s findings:
[W]hile English-dominant Latinos subscribe to broadband services at a higher rate than non-Hispanic whites (68% of those surveyed having broadband services at home), Spanish-dominant Latinos lag well behind, with only 32% using the Internet in any form in 2006, compared to 78% of English-dominant Latinos and 76% of bilingual speakers.
The full Hispanic Institute report, Toward Access, Adoption & Inclusion: A Call for Digital Equality and Broadband Opportunity, is available online.
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