March 17, 2010
Contact: Jason Llorenz
NHCSL STATEMENT ON NATIONAL BROADBAND PLAN
WASHINGTON, D.C., March 17, 2010 – The National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL) commends the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for its initial efforts to extend the benefits of broadband to all Americans through the recommendations in its national broadband plan. Latino communities are among those who will benefit most from policies that encourage investment and innovation while fostering greater access to broadband technologies.
“We applaud the Commission for making the National Broadband Plan process open and inclusive, and for their initial focus on calling attention to the need to get 90% of Americans connected to the Internet by 2020. This is critical because the internet is a critical tool for national competitiveness, economic growth, educational development and healthcare reform,” said Sen. Iris Y. Martinez (IL), NHCSL President.
NHCSL has launched its Broadband En Accion initiative – featuring a taskforce of Hispanic state legislators who will be studying this issue, and the broadband plan, closely. While we are reassured that the Commission did not adopt some of the more extreme calls for unnecessary regulations that could have devastating unintended consequences, the NHCSL Broadband En Accion Taskforce will be looking forward to working with the Commission to continue its focus on full access and adoption, especially in our underserved communities. NHCSL agrees with the Commission that the goal of the National Broadband Plan needs to be to drive broadband adoption, while creating jobs and bolstering our economy.
“Broadband offers an opportunity to decrease the educational achievement gap, provides opportunities for the jobs of the future, and drives economic growth,” said Senator Juan M. Pichardo (RI), Chair, NHCSL Broadband En Accion Initiative.
Fixed and mobile wireless has the tremendous potential to transform the societal and economic conditions of our nation and in our communities. Unfortunately, Hispanic Americans trail the average in broadband adoption, and only 49 percent (English and Spanish speaking) have broadband in their homes. And even though Hispanic Americans are some of the leading adopters of wireless Internet, too many are still not aware of the benefits of broadband or simply do not have access to this life-changing technology. NHCSL seeks support of policies and practices that will help resolve these discrepancies and provide our nation’s 48 million Hispanic Americans with the tools to achieve their vast economic potential.
Now, we call on Congress to act on the FCC’s recommendations for full digital inclusion through sensible policies that encourage public and private sector investments that truly gets all communities connected to broadband.
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The NHCSL is the premier national association of Hispanic state legislators working to design and implement policies and procedures that will improve the quality of life for Hispanics throughout the country. NHCSL was founded in 1989 as a nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)3 with the mission to be the most effective voice for the more than 300 Hispanic legislators. For more information visit www.nhcsl.org.