More than ever before, the importance of broadband access is being discussed in Washington and amongst Telecom companies across the U.S. Perhaps due to the disparity between other minority groups’ use of broadband and that among Latinos (44% of Latinos have adopted broadband usage compared with more than 56% of African-Americans and 67% for White-Americans)* the issue is being discussed whether Broadband is essential for Latino’s success. Is this technology’s importance being blown out of proportion?
The importance of the issue is being highlighted by the government’s proposed intervention in internet technologies through “Net Neutrality,” the billions of dollars (with a “B”) in resources being earmarked for projects across the country**, and the many studies demonstrating correlations between access to technologies and economic success. Essentially, however, all agree that the future of broadband will a have wide-ranging impact on all Americans, not just minorities. But specifically considering the case of minorities, lack of access or slow adoption will have a tremendous impact on their futures.
Simply consider the value that broadband access can bring to any household. In today’s technology-driven world, online access can provide freedom like no other resource. You can do pretty much anything online from shopping, banking, attending classes, placing prescriptions, to even researching and running a business. Although the former all provide convenience to the end-user, the latter can “level the playing field” to a budding entrepreneur looking to compete in an ever-tightening economic environment.
Only through online resources can a small farmer or jewelry designer compete with the likes of ConAgra or Tiffany. Imagine the economic benefits brought to a community when one of its members expands their corner store to the unlimited universe that is the Internet! With additional revenues will come additional jobs, less required welfare, higher tax contributions for community services, gifting to non-profits and Churches who support social programs, and in the end demand will rise for more goods and services that others within the community will find the incentive to provide: hence, the economic circle of life that benefits all.
All that is needed is that one missing link that can spark the entrepreneurial spirit enough to create a ripple effect that will forever shift the paradigm within a community. Could increased access and education in Broadband provide that spark?