LatinaLista — The digital divide. It's something that too often finds the Latino community on the wrong side of the chasm. From being the last to upgrade televisions to receive digital transmissions (as Latina Lista reported yesterday) to still lagging behind having home access to the Internet (though the gap is narrowing), the Latino community, would appear, to be uninterested in technology.
However, all these studies proclaiming Latinos' "digital disinterest" weren't looking at the technology that matters most to Latinos -- mobile phones.
A new report released by The Hispanic Institute and Mobile Future titled, Hispanic Broadband Access: Making the Most of the Mobile Connected Future, found that Latinos are second only to African Americans (53% to 58%) when it comes to using mobile broadband.
According to one finding of the study:
Hispanics are more mobile than the general U.S. population and, thus, rely more on cell phones. In fact, compared to Americans generally, Hispanics account for more minutes used and for a higher percentage of cell-phone ownership despite their relatively low incomes.
The thrust of the report details the role mobile telephones have in creating economic opportunities and providing social benefits to its users. Therefore, the report's writers conclude that it's imperative that Latinos play a major role in shaping national policy on broadband usage.
But how do we, or anyone, get our voices heard in this national debate that's most probably being influenced by big businesses and special interest groups?
At the Federal Communications Commission's website, there is a section titled "Broadband.gov." It's a section that details the very important broadband initiatives by the government.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) was signed into law on February 17, 2009. The Broadband Initiatives funded in the Act are intended to accelerate broadband deployment across the United States. The Recovery Act authorizes the FCC to create a National Broadband Plan, that "shall seek to ensure that all people of the United States have access to broadband capability and shall establish benchmarks for meeting that goal."
One of those broadband initiatives has to do with the Wireless Broadband Access Task Force. That is an initiative that everyone should be watching closely as it impacts all of us.
The FCC's Broadband.gov site allows for comments/ideas to be shared. This is where to get voices heard and ideas presented.
New educational, health and information initiatives are underway in pilot programs throughout the country using mobile broadband. The ultimate goal that everyone should be concerned about is that the service remains affordable and equally available to all.
The one way to do that and let Washington know you're keeping an eye on them is to take the time to educate yourself on the broadband issue -- but most importantly, interact with the FCC at their web site.
It's easy. All it takes is ganas!