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as posted by LatinoInternetJustice:

by Jorge Bauermeister

As reported by TRDaily, FCC Chairman Genachowski addressed one specific issue as “particular concern” for minorities during the Minority Media and Telecom Council’s Broadband and Social Justice Policy Summit – that issue being spectrum.  Having also listened to the Chairman’s remarks at MMTC – I believe that this is certainly a worthwhile issue to highlight.

Here are the points outlined by TRDaily that I agree are important – and of which the Chairman honed in on during his speech:

  • The FCC is committed to making more spectrum available for wireless broadband services, calling the issue “a particular concern for minority communities” because wireless devices “have become the primary means for accessing the Internet” for many African Americans and Latinos.
  • According to Chairman Genachowski, broadband Internet access is “no longer a luxury” but is instead “a necessity for full participation in our 21st century economy.”

I am hopeful that the Commission will take greater care and time to assess important issues like spectrum since it is this very issue that serves as a building block for expanding and growing America’s wireless infrastructure and connecting minority users to this life altering service.  For Hispanics, whose use of mobile broadband devices are often times the primary means for accessing the Internet – the spectrum issue is that much more important since it is a critical component for enabling providers to deliver reliable and quality services to allconsumers.  Talks on this issue are now beginning to heat up in Washington, DC – only time will tell what side of the aisle the FCC will land on.

by Marshall Kirby, Public Policy Analyst

President Obama laid the foundation of the general goals of his Administration for the coming months ahead.  Imploring a divided Congress to act in favor of enhancing America’s physical infrastructure through roads, railways, redesigning our ports and airports, making a more efficient energy grid, expanding research on green and alternative energy, and expanding access to broadband.  Encompassing all of these, President Obama argued that America’s economy will be stronger, produce better paying jobs, and be more competitive.

Public investment is not a new idea, and since the New Deal under FDR, politicians have been pushing agendas which encompass education, infrastructure, and technology.  In the 1990’s President Clinton had his own policy agenda which encompassed an investment in technology and research science after the breakthrough of technology like the PC and the internet.  Since Clinton, conservatives have been very skeptical of public investment in these areas, and President Bush pushed for investment in education through No Child Left Behind.  Even recently, President Obama, in advocating for the Recovery Act, stressed the importance of construction and infrastructure projects.  His idea hit strong Republican opposition, and infrastructure became a watered down portion of the stimulus.  Instead of pushing for the most crucial projects, the Administration looked to “shovel ready” ones which would put the hard hit construction sector back to work. Read the rest of this entry »

In a recent report by the U.S. GAO (Government Accountability Office), the U.S. is highlighted as having exceeded or equaled the best broadband resources in the world.  Amongst the 33 OECD countries, most of which are considered the most prosperous and economically free in the world, the U.S. excelled in most of the categories.  A statement by the SBE Council summarizes the results:

To sum up, the broadband story in the U.S. is impressive. Despite being one of the largest nations, with its population spread widely, U.S. broadband is comprehensively deployed; broadband speeds are above the average for developed nations (with some U.S. cities having the world’s fastest); and broadband subscribers are the most in the world, with above average subscribers per 100 households.

That’s a tribute to investments and innovations made by the nation’s broadband providers. It is, of course, critical that policymakers keep these impressive feats in mind when considering regulations and taxes in the broadband arena. A pro-competition, light regulatory touch policy regime clearly makes the most sense.[1]

Puerto Rico’s Contribution

Although Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, and Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, broadband investment and implementation on the island is dismal.  The MMTC (Minority Media and Telecommunications Council) pointed this out in a notice submitted ex parte to FCC commissioners on September 12th.[2]

Within the letter, MMTC lauds the Commission’s recent report on broadband deployment,[3] then commences to upbraid its oversight of the 4 million Hispanic U.S. citizens living in Puerto Rico. Read the rest of this entry »

In an article today, John Eggerton, of Broadcasting & Cable, reiterated Puerto Rico’s call for an FCC reversal on their decision to delay assisting the island in its Broadband implementation.  Given that the lack of access to minimal IT infrastructure severely limits a society’s ability to compete on any economic level, Puerto Rico should be considered a high priority for increasing broadband access. 

Puerto Rican Officials ask FCC for Broadband Help: Say dealing with issue as part of USF reform will take too long

The governor of Puerto Rico and other officials there have asked the FCC to reverse a decision they say will leave the territory without sufficient access to broadband for too long.

While Governor Luis Fortuno said he understood the FCC had said it preferred dealing with the issue as part of general overall Universal Service Fund reform, he said that would be a multi-year process and that Puerto Rico has already waited too long to get comparable service to the U.S.

He asked that the FCC reconsider the request of the Puerto Rico Telephone Company (PRTC) for a separate fund and its promise to use it for broadband. He also wants the FCC to create a Puerto Rico broadband pilot program and consider designating staff to deal specifically with Puerto Rico broadband issues. Read the rest of this entry »

During a press conference yesterday, the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL) released its report entitled  Expanding Opportunities in the Hispanic Community:  Solutions for Increased Broadband Access.

The report describes the NHCSL vision of “full digital inclusion for all Americans . . . where Hispanics continue to lag in meaningful broadband adoption that can only be realized by fully digitally literate communities.  Broadband and information technology are drivers for job creation, educational reform, healthcare delivery, greater competitiveness for small businesses, and increased access to government services.”

We at The National Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce support the majority of the recommendations listed within the report, especially those with respect to increased wire line and wireless broadband technologies Read the rest of this entry »

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. Read the rest of this entry »

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACTS: Jess George Dan BallisterLatin American Coalition Time Warner Cable704-531-3845 980-275-0881
Latin American Coalition Unveils New Technology Center in Charlotte to Increase Digital Literacy Among Hispanics
Tech Center Results from LULAC and Time Warner Cable Initiative
CHARLOTTE – (February 21, 2011) – In response to the imperative need to help advance broadband access and literacy among the Hispanic community, Time Warner Cable (TWC) and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) have partnered to activate the “Empower Hispanic America Technology Center” at the Latin American Coalition (the Coalition) in Charlotte.
The Latin American Coalition will host a dedication ceremony for the new technology center on Thursday, February 24 from 10:00am to noon at its building located at 4938 Central Avenue in East Charlotte. Latin American Coalition Executive Director Jess George will be joined by Carol Hevey, East Region Executive Vice President, Time Warner Cable, Brent Wilkes, National Executive Director, LULAC, Jennifer Roberts, Chairperson, Mecklenburg County Commission, and other Hispanic community leaders.
The new technology center, which includes 10 computers and other peripheral equipment, will provide Coalition visitors with complimentary access to Time Warner Cable’s Business Class high speed Internet service and strengthen existing classes that will help Hispanics develop computer skills necessary to research career options. Additionally, the tech center will complement the Coalition’s efforts to empower Latinos with educational opportunities such as financial literacy, English language classes and online citizenship curriculum in order to compete and succeed in the workforce.
Made possible by a $200,000 grant from Time Warner Cable, the Empower Hispanic America Technology Center in Charlotte is one of five created through the Time Warner Cable and LULAC partnership. Tech centers have also been sponsored in San Antonio, Texas; Kansas City, Missouri; Waukesha, Wisconsin; and Cincinnati, Ohio. Time Warner Cable and LULAC plan to provide free Internet access to another 13 technology sites throughout the United States in 2011. Latin American Coalition is a participating member of LULAC’s broadband adoption initiative, Empower Hispanic America with Technology which consists of a network of 60 community technology centers in 27 states.
About the Latin American CoalitionThe mission of the Latin American Coalition is to promote full Hispanic participation in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg region by informing, educating and advocating for the Latin American community. We envision a diverse and vibrant community that embraces, supports and respects people of all cultures and backgrounds. Twenty years after its inception, the Latin American Coalition is proud to be Charlotte’s oldest and largest Hispanic service agency.
About LULACThe League of United Latin American Citizens, the largest and oldest Hispanic membership organization in the country, advances the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, housing, health and civil rights of Hispanic Americans through community-based programs operating through 880 LULAC councils nationwide. More information about LULAC can be found at http://www.LULAC.org.
About Time Warner Cable Time Warner Cable’s East Region provides technologically advanced video, Internet and telephone services to more than 5.9 million residential and business customers. Time Warner Cable’s East Region serves more than 1,300 cities in nine states, including Alabama, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. The East Region has more than 17,000 employees focused on delivering the company’s mission every day by connecting people and businesses with information, entertainment and each other.
Time Warner Cable is the second-largest cable operator in the U.S., with well-clustered systems located mainly in five geographic areas — New York State (including New York City), the Carolinas, Ohio, southern California (including Los Angeles) and Texas. Time Warner Cable serves more than 14 million customers who subscribe to one or more of its video, high-speed data and voice services. Time Warner Cable Business Class offers a suite of phone, Internet, Ethernet and cable television services to businesses of all sizes. Time Warner Cable Media, the advertising arm of Time Warner Cable, offers national, regional and local companies innovative advertising solutions that are targeted and affordable. More information about the services of Time Warner Cable is available at http://www.timewarnercable.com, http://www.twcbc.com and http://www.twcmedia.com.

NPRChamber.orgwww.NPRChamber.orgThe National Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce was created to advocate for the development of entrepreneurship and innovation for Puerto Ricans, Hispanics, and other Minorities by providing a comprehensive resource for incubating and growing business ideas as well as representing those businesses’ inShare

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