On January 9, 2014, the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC), in collaboration with its partners in the VOICES for Internet Freedom coalition, will be hosting a live-streamed town hall event in Oakland, Calif. offering community members a unique opportunity to speak with recently-appointed Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler (click here for more event information and live stream access). NHMC urges media to draw attention to how telecommunications policies affect the Latino community, including those with disabilities, low-income families, entrepreneurs and small business owners, students and their parents.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates the nation's communications, including radio, television, telephones, among others, and is responsible for ensuring that these communications systems are affordable and available to all Americans. Part of the FCC's mission is to expand access to broadband internet, which directly impacts access to economic opportunities for all Americans, including Latinos.
With a population of nearly million, Latinos are now more than 17% of the U.S. population, and the group's growing purchasing power is estimated to reach $1.5 trillion dollars by 2015. Yet, despite the growth in affluent Latinos, at the same time there are still large segments that face significant barriers to economic mobility:
Lack of broadband means impeded access to economic opportunities:
- Latinos disproportionately live in poverty: 25.9% all Hispanics/Latinos, and Hispanic/Latino children and teenagers (34.1%) live in poverty, compared to 15.9% for all Americans and 22.5% of all American children and teenagers.
Today 100 million Americans, nearly a third of the population, do not have broadband at home. This digital divide - between those that have broadband and those that do not - is really an opportunity divide, which directly affects economic opportunity and mobility, especially for traditionally disadvantaged groups like Latinos:
- In the next decade, nearly 80% of jobs will require some digital literacy skills.
- Students with broadband at home graduate at a rate 6-8% higher than students who lack such access.
- Consumers with broadband at home can save up to $7,000 per year on goods and services.
- Annual revenues of small businesses with broadband access are, on average, $200,000 higher than those without broadband.
NHMC’s Advocacy and Media Availability:
- According to a 2008 survey, 77% of teachers responded that they or a colleague assigned homework that required Internet access to complete - and that number is certain to be rising.
NHMC advocates for federal policies that ensure universal and affordable connections for all Americans, which includes regularly filing comments
with the FCC and other government agencies to ensure that their policies’ impact on the Latino community is taken into consideration before making decisions.
For more information, NHMC President & CEO Alex Nogales is available for media interviews in English or Spanish, and NHMC Executive Vice President Jessica Gonzalez is available for media interviews in English. To schedule an interview, please contact Brian Pacheco at 626-792-6462 or (cell) 213-718-0732, firstname.lastname@example.org