Thursday, June 06
This post was authored by Floyd Mori, IIA Member and President and CEO of the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies.
The desire to increase equal opportunities for all Americans is a noble one. But the process of achieving this worthy goal is complicated, and it requires a variety of approaches—each tailored to meet the different needs of different communities.
For example, the Asian-American community is incredibly diverse, comprised of some groups that traditionally have achieved higher levels of education and economic stability. But their success doesn’t tell the whole story: The Asian-American community also includes many that continue to struggle with poverty, language and educational barriers, as well as health disparities. Their struggles mirror the challenges that affect many other minority communities in America.
It turns out that one way to increase equality of opportunity for these communities and for virtually every American is through increased access to high-speed broadband service. This service provides improved access to additional educational, professional, and social opportunities, in addition to opportunities for better health care and civic engagement. President Obama, recognizing the importance of broadband access, set a goal for providing 98 percent of all Americans with access to high-speed broadband by 2016.
Unfortunately, the availability of high-speed broadband is still limited in many parts of the country and within many minority communities, for a variety of reasons. This is a problem because in our modern, digital age, broadband access is now a necessity, not a luxury. Broadband service can strengthen communities and families, present new possibilities that lead to a better quality of life, and even act as a bridge to a brighter future.
In addition, too much of today’s communication regulatory and legislative decision-making processes are incorrectly based on yesterday’s communication network of wired connectivity. This has slowed the expansion of high-speed broadband and thus contributing to widening the inequalities we face today.
For example, distance learning has become both a viable alternative and a valuable supplement to traditional classroom learning for students at all levels and at any age. Online classes and job training can even make it possible for people to learn on their own time, a particularly important benefit for workers and families. With broadband access, non-native English speakers can choose from several language applications and programs to help them achieve proficiency in English.
Additionally, broadband-enabled applications in telehealth and mobile health (mHealth) offer better access to quality care and increased options for improved wellness and health. These health technologies also offer improved management of chronic diseases, including those that affect minority communities (including Asian-American communities) at disproportionately higher rates.
Conversely, lack of broadband access constitutes more than just an inability to get these and other benefits. In our modern time, it puts people at a tremendous disadvantage. For those without access—including many Asian Americans (in particular, our Pacific Islander and Southeast Asian communities), as well as many African Americans, Hispanics, and rural Americans—a fast solution is needed. Many minorities and other underserved groups face a real risk of falling behind and missing out on all that these exciting technologies have to offer.
That’s why it’s so important to upgrade our nation’s communications networks to Internet Protocol (IP)-based networks. Transitioning to such an infrastructure will bring increased access to next-generation, high-speed broadband networks with new capabilities and applications. These modern networks deliver faster speeds and enhanced connectivity. Moreover, unlike outdated networks, they support a variety of devices while also offering new options for services and technologies. The IP transition can transform and improve health care and education as well as provide more opportunities for civic engagement, professional development, and economic growth for us all.
Investment in modern networks is good for our economy, too. A study by Deloitte estimated U.S. investment in modern networks to be between $25–53 billion during 2012–2016; this corresponded to a conservative estimate of $73–152 billion in GDP growth and 317,000–771,000 new jobs for that same period. That investment presents many opportunities for our country and for all Americans.
The transition to next-generation networks will increase broadband access and result in economic growth and countless benefits for Americans; therefore, it must become a national priority. I believe that this transition can be achieved if our policymakers focus on encouraging private sector investment and creating a modern regulatory framework. Achieving rapid deployment of modern communications networks is the key to achieving the President’s national broadband goal and to creating true equality of opportunity. All Americans, regardless of background, should have access to broadband and to the brighter future it can deliver.
— Floyd Mori
Monday, November 26
In his annual address to members, National Grange President Ed Luttrell (National Grange is one of our members) spoke about the importance of expanding broadband access to more of America’s rural communities:
While supporting traditional forms of access and communication, we also stress the need for rural America to see a substantial increase in access to the essential technology of broadband. Rural America achieved a great legislative victory this past year with the allowance of Universal Service Funds to be used for broadband expansion. Now it is our duty to ensure that these funds are properly utilized to bring high-speed internet to every rural household and business. This will help ensure that rural America can compete with its urban counterparts in today’s global economy.
You can read Luttrell’s full address at the National Grange website.
Wednesday, December 14
Tomorrow at 1 pm ET, our own Jamal Simmons will be participating in “Growth Without Barriers,” a live webcast put together by IIA members the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council. The webcast is free and you can tune at this link.
Tuesday, December 06
The Hispanic Leadership Fund (HLF), the newest member of the Internet Innovation Alliance (IIA), is a non-partisan advocacy organization dedicated to strengthening working families by promoting common-sense public policy solutions rooted in free enterprise, limited government, and individual freedom.
One such public policy solution is expanding access to affordable, reliable broadband Internet and bringing its unparalleled benefits to Hispanic communities across the United States.
HLF realizes that expanding high-speed Internet in rural and urban communities is critical for the success of the next generation of Americans. From educational opportunities through distance learning, to improved health care options using telemedicine technology and much more, broadband access can revolutionize the way businesses and individuals fulfill their everyday needs. Broadband has the potential to have widespread impact on nearly every consumer in America, and needs to the support of both public and private sectors policies that promote innovation and the expansion of this critical resource.
For small business growth in particular, HLF believes that access to broadband Internet is extremely important. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Latino entrepreneurs were opening small businesses at a rate three times as fast as local businesses overall. A key component of entrepreneurship in today’s economy is using online tools to reduce startup costs and build, grow and maintain a successful business.
The IIA is proud to name the HLF as the Featured Member of the Week, and looks forward to working with them to achieve universal broadband to spur economic growth, increase opportunities for small businesses, improve education at all levels, and much more.
Monday, December 05
In the wake of the FCC releasing its un-finalized Staff Report on the AT&T and T-Mobile merger, Geoffrey Manne of Forbes writes:
As everyone knows by now, AT&T’s proposed merger with T-Mobile has hit a bureaucratic snag at the FCC. The remarkable decision to refer the merger to the Commission’s Administrative Law Judge (in an effort to derail the deal) and the public release of the FCC staff’s internal, draft report are problematic and poorly considered. But far worse is the content of the report on which the decision to attempt to kill the deal was based.
Over at the Wall Street Journal, columnist L. Gordon Crovitz calls the proposed deal between the two telecom companies a “private-sector solution to a government-created problem” — specifically, a lack of spectrum for wireless:
We live in an era when innovation in technology requires more regulatory humility. If a company wants to serve consumers better by risking its capital to buy spectrum through an acquisition, it should be allowed to proceed. Company executives can then be blamed if they either underinvest or overinvest in spectrum. FCC lawyers should stick to writing briefs.
So long as regulators apply rules for mature industries to new technologies, we will have problems such as spectrum scarcity and industries kept artificially inefficient. Until regulators change their ways, blame a meddling FCC when calls get dropped on your mobile phone.
Meanwhile, on their blog, the the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council (who are also IIA members) are disappointed in the White House:
The President and the FCC say they want to see mobile broadband deployed throughout the nation. Mr. Obama certainly needs the jobs that come with broadband investment for his re-election effort. Yet, the administration works to stop a merger that would help to achieve these goals.
And Nicole Palya Wood, Legislative Director of fellow IIA Member the National Grange is confused by the FCC’s stance that investment in expanding broadband won’t create jobs:
Two weeks ago, the FCC created a new $4.5 billion broadband fund and the National Grange celebrated this reform of the Universal Service Fund for dedicated broadband. What I find confusing is that the FCC claimed this investment in wireline broadband to 7 million new potential customers, would create “approximately 500,000 jobs and $50 billion in economic growth.” However, their staff report on the merger rejects the argument by AT&T that an investment of billions to deploy 4G mobile broadband service to 55 million more Americans over the next 6 years would help to create jobs. Does that mean that once again, it is okay for big government (armed with my tax dollars) to come in riding on the white horse of job creation, but when big business tries to do it somehow the increased commerce they create disappears?
Monday, November 21
Founded in 1929, the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) is the oldest and largest Asian American civil rights organization in the United States. The JACL monitors and responds to issues that enhance or threaten the civil and human rights of all Americans and implements strategies to affect positive social change, particularly to the Asian Pacific American community. Today, one of those issues is access to high-speed broadband Internet.
A 2011 Pew Internet study found that 87% of English-speaking Asian Americans use the Internet, and 80% use broadband Internet at home — the highest usage rates of any minority group. Asian Americans also rank higher than any other racial group in their usage of mobile Internet. Looking to our future, JACL believes a continued commitment to the adoption and expansion of access to this critical tool is essential to continue to propel Asian Americans — and all Americans — towards prosperity.
As members of the Internet Innovation Alliance, JACL supports IIA’s mission of achieving universal broadband access not only to Asian Americans, but to all Americans. As our society becomes increasingly more dependent on high-speed Internet, prosperity and equality in our nation depends on access to broadband Internet.
The Japanese American Citizens League is a national organization whose ongoing mission is to secure and maintain the civil rights of Japanese Americans and all others who are victimized by injustice and bigotry. The leaders and members of the JACL also work to promote cultural, educational and social values and preserve the heritage and legacy of the Japanese American community.
Wednesday, November 16
This week’s IIA featured member is the Independent Women’s Forum (IWF). IWF is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) research and educational institution that seeks to combat the too-common presumption that women want and benefit from big government, and to build awareness of the ways that women are better served by economic freedom. One of those ways is through increased and widespread access to high-speed broadband Internet.
The Internet provides the tools to empower women to actively participate in economic and political happenings across the nation, and also helps IWF communicate their messages and achieve their overall mission. For instance, the internet helps women — and all individuals — access media resources, educate themselves on policies and current events, and communicate with like-minded citizens. In order to achieve their goal, IWF aggressively seeks earned media, provides easy easy-to-read, timely publications and commentary, and reaches out to the public to seek and cultivate support for their principles.
IWF believes that technological innovations have dramatically improved lives — as does IIA. IWF analysts have highlighted how women uniquely benefit from new technologies, and encourage policies that will lead to the development of the next wave of ground-breaking innovation.
IWF realizes that the benefits of the Internet span across many demographics, not just women. Internet and technology have opened incredible doors for new and better ways of getting higher education, health care, job opportunities and so much more. But all of this can only be possible with access, which can best be achieved through the free market. That is why IWF is a member of IIA, because every American — including women — should have access to the critical tool that is broadband Internet.
Thursday, September 22
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.
Thursday, September 23
IIA members The Hispanic Technology and Telecommunications Partnership (HTTP) — the Latino community’s voice in Washington on technology and telecommunications policy — has announced its new Executive Director: Jason Llorenz, Esq. From HTTP’s blog:
Prior to assuming this role with HTTP, Mr. Llorenz served as Senior Policy Advisor to the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators, where he directed the development of the Broadband En Accion Taskforce - a cadre of Hispanic state legislators from across the country working to identify and promote policy solutions to close the digital divide and realize full broadband adoption for Latino communities.
As Executive Director, Mr. Llorenz will lead HTTP’s coalition of more than 20 national and regional Hispanic-serving organizations in advancing its mission of realizing full access to technology for under-served communities.
More information on HTTP can be found on their website.
Tuesday, August 04
IIA member One Economy has received the profile treatment from Fierce Broadband Wireless:
One Economy, born out of the affordable housing and community development world, understands well how money is funneled down at the local level into affordable housing projects. As such, it has been able to successfully work at a local level to bring in the necessary funds to give housing projects free broadband access and the training to make people proficient computer users.
Check out the full article, which highlights some of the good work One Economy has done over the years.