Blog Archive 2013-2014
December 17, 2014
By Martin Chavez, Contributor, Roll Call
Congress, the Federal Communications Commission, and even the executive branch, continue to grapple with net neutrality and whether or not the government should reclassify the Internet as a public utility.
The Hispanic Technology and Telecom Partnership, along with the vast majority of civil rights organizations representing both Latinos and African Americans, opposes such a move out of concern that it would discourage investment in, and expansion of, the Internet. The civil rights community has strongly favored Section 706 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act as a lighter touch and a more practicable way to ensure an Open Internet that would be accessible to all, incapable of being degraded or throttled and provide greater transparency.
New studies have emerged, however, that portend a far more ominous outcome if the 1934 rotary phone era regulations encompassed in Title II apply to All Things Internet.
December 15, 2014
By Robert Atkinson, contributor, The Hill
There are many problems with the public conversation surrounding the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) net neutrality rule-making: The public discourse struggles to rise above simple catch-phrases, popular antipathy against broadband providers clouds good decision-making and the increasing politicization of tech issues drives policy-by-ideology over rigorous analysis of available trade-offs. But one problem stands out among the rest — we aren’t actually arguing about net neutrality. Instead of fiddling with a variety of jurisdictional hooks, none of which are quite right for the job, the FCC should take a step back and allow this problem to be solved the right way — through legislation.
For the hundredth time, there is broad agreement over the general principles of net neutrality. No one is interested in seeing websites bundled and sold like cable channels; we all want to avoid “toll booths” for new start-ups. Indeed, the net neutrality debate has changed radically since it began 10 years ago. Everyone recognizes the value of an open Internet where new digital services can emerge and grow unimpeded. The question is, given the lack of indisputable offenses and rapid changes both on top of and within networks, how do we find the right mix of rules, norms and expectations to ensure the open Internet continues to thrive while we still enable network innovation and investment?
The past eight months have not been helpful in this endeavor. Indeed, they have been a full-blown circus of ill-informed protesters and lamentable swift-boating of the FCC chairman (you probably met him as “Tom Wheeler, former cable lobbyist,” but may not know he represented the then-nascent cable industry from 1976 to 1984 in fights with broadcasters, and has never worked for an incumbent). This circus drove nearly 4 million comments on the proposed rules, turning what was a great opportunity to give the FCC smart, effective tools to protect the open Internet into nothing short of a political football. Furthermore, President Obama’s remarks, advocating for classification of broadband as a Title II telecommunications service, represent a strong punt toward a morass of additional rule-makings and legal battles.
December 5, 2014
By Rosa Mendoza, Executive Director, Hispanic Technology & Telecommunications Partnership (HTTP)
As federal officials wrestle with new forms of online oversight, it is important that Internet users understand the basics of how today’s Internet works. That is the goal of an event HTTP is sponsoring on December 11 with ACT – The App Association. Titled “How the Networks Work,” [RSVP via Eventbrite] the interactive event will demonstrate how networks transfer data to meet demands for streaming video, music and other apps.
Today’s Internet is one of the most technologically complex systems in history. That photo you just emailed to a group of friends? Its data is first broken down into several packets, each consisting of three separate pieces of information, which help the data reach its destination – header, payload and footer. Before finally reaching the recipients, the packets travel through several different routers, which connect various networks of the Internet and determine the best paths for the packets.
In order to gain access to the Internet, consumers – or end users – buy service through an Internet Service Providers (ISPs). To ensure end users have a fast and steady flow of information, ISPs may establish peering and interchange agreements with other networks to exchange information freely or for a price. As for wireless devices, wireless towers receive signals from your device and send the request through a fiber or microwave connection to a switch that connects to the ISP.
As new technology rapidly evolves, an inevitable question emerges: How can even well-intentioned Federal policies, formulated over years through processes of debate and compromise, keep up with the radical changes in network technology? Understanding how the Internet actually works is critical to understanding how it should be regulated.
As we get closer to “How the Networks Work,” we’ll further explore these questions and discuss the FCC’s continuing policy debates over Internet regulatory matters.
Register today for, “How the Networks Work” here: RSVP via Eventbrite
How the Networks Work
ACT— The App Association and Hispanic Technology & Telecommunications Partnership (HTTP)
Thursday, December 11th
12pm – 1pm
Capitol Hill, Longworth 1300
*Lunch will be provided
December 2, 2014
(Too Little) Tech Diversity: Causes and Solutions
Join DiverseTech, a national effort aimed improving Tech Diversity, for a Panel Discussion and Happy Hour on Capitol Hill.
This event promoting the recent launch of DiverseTech will provide valuable insight and education for Congressional members, their staff, DC policy makers, stakeholders, industry leaders and media on the problems surrounding the lack of diversity within the tech industry and what companies can actually do to address the issue. Follow the conversation on Twitter at #DiverseTech.
Date: Thursday, December 4, 2014
Panel Discussion: 3:30pm – 4:30pm
Happy Hour: 4:30pm – 6:00pm
Location: H-122 (U.S. Capitol Building)
Moderator: Marty Chavez, Senior Advisor, Hispanic Telecommunications and Technology Partnership
Speakers: Jeremy White, Founder, DiverseTech
Jose Marquez, CEO, Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association
Clayton Banks, Co-founder, Silicon Harlem
Kat Calvin, Founder Michelle in Training
Rosario Robinson, Anita Borg Institute/Grace Hopper Women in Computing Conference
Brandon Andrews, Former U.S. Senate Staffer and Co-Founder of SkillTarget
To RSVP: please email email@example.com
December 1, 2014
By Robert Litan and Hal Singer
Self-styled consumer advocates are pressuring federal regulators to “reclassify” access to the Internet as a public utility. If they get their way, U.S. consumers will have to dig deeper into their pockets to pay for both residential fixed and wireless broadband services.
How deep? We have calculated that the average annual increase in state and local fees levied on U.S. wireline and wireless broadband subscribers will be $67 and $72, respectively. And the annual increase in federal fees per household will be roughly $17. When you add it all up, reclassification could add a whopping $17 billion in new user fees on top of the planned $1.5 billion extra to fund the E-Rate program. The higher fees would come on top of the adverse impact on consumers of less investment and slower innovation that would result from reclassification.
How did we reach this precipice? In early November, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler floated a “hybrid” compromise that would have deemed Internet service providers (ISPs)—telcos and cable companies—as public utilities under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934 for purposes of their dealings with websites, such as Netflix. But when it came to the rates and download speeds offered to broadband customers, ISPs would continue to be subject to “light touch” regulation under Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which directs the Commission to promote broadband deployment. This would allow them to give their customers choices: those who were willing to pay more for higher speeds could. Think of it as being willing to pay more to take the faster Acela train as opposed to the regular Amtrak line.
November 21, 2014
By Jamal Simmons and Rosa Mendoza
Contributors, The Hill
Last week, the President called on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reclassify broadband service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act of 1934. We fully agree with the president when it comes to his goals for an open Internet. There should be no blocking, throttling, or paid prioritization by companies looking for faster lanes than their competitors. In addition, ISPs should be completely transparent. The one thing we differ on is regulating the Internet under Title II, a piece of legislation created decades ago for the regulation of obsolete devices.
The President’s approach is the wrong way to go especially when considering the recently released Pew Internet Project report on “Killer Apps in the Gigabit Age.” The report detailed these experts’ beliefs about the breathtaking future that could be possible when connection speeds reach 1,000 megabits of information per second, about 100 times faster than speeds commonly available today in the United States.
These speeds will allow far more data to pass between and through networks. Many experts who responded to Pew’s questions looked forward to the commonplace use of virtual realities and avatars for meetings, sporting events and long-distance family dinners. Daily home check-ins from devices and far away medical professionals could revolutionize healthcare. Shopping could become a completely different experience with consumers choosing new dresses online and having them appear on a home 3-D printer queue soon after.
November 4, 2014
By Marc H. Morial, guest columnist, Orlando Sentinel
In the decades-long struggle for civil rights, the movement has focused on different Washington institutions, from Congress to the White House to the Supreme Court. This past summer, part of the battle moved to the Federal Communications Commission.
The critical question now facing the FCC is how to preserve the open Internet while continuing to expand opportunity and bring the transformative benefits of broadband technology to all Americans, including communities of color.
Today, there are no binding rules requiring the broadband industry to keep the Internet open and free, thus making it critical for the FCC to act quickly. Internet service providers should not be able to block, degrade or slow access to any website or service, or otherwise create “fast lane” sweetheart deals that favor a few at the expense of most.
October 16, 2014
By Martin Chavez, HTTP Senior Advisor
Few members of the public not involved in the endeavor to close the digital divide or further expand the Internet have any idea that there is such a thing as the Universal Service Fund (USF). Likewise, few parents, desirous of seeing their children constructively engaged in All Things Internet know how it operates or for that matter, how it doesn’t operate. Yet the Universal Service Fund disburses over 4 billion dollars annually across four programs that are critical to realizing the goals of the Hispanic Technology and Telecommunications Partnership. Administered by the private Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), the four programs are High Cost, Low Income (which includes Link Up America and Lifeline), Rural Health Care and Schools and Libraries (E-Rate). The goals of the USF have changed over the years along with technology but remain generally about assuring that all Americans have affordable telecommunications service. It’s breadth was expanded by the 1996 Telecommunications Act to include rural health care, schools and libraries and to make sure that it was no longer just about POTS (plain old telephone service).
The USF has been the topic of a lot of recent discussion as to whether it is broken and if so, how it should be fixed. Unfortunately, like many of the issues confronting the FCC these days, the “conversations” around the USF are as likely to generate heat as they are light. Those seeking to expand the fund are usually confronted with the logical argument that it must be fixed first. Fixing it, of course, is where the conversation breaks down. Future articles will delve deeper into those controversies with a goal of shedding light for the future debate. For now, however, it’s important for our members to simply understand the fundamentals and why a properly directed and well-managed Universal Service Fund is a critical tool to assist Latinos in closing the digital divide.
Funding the USF was a moderately simple feat when it was just long distance phone carriers paying in and phone service was the object. Today, however, all telecommunications companies providing service between states or providing international service must pay in to one fund that the USAC administers. As new technologies emerge and new ways are developed to provide communication, the challenge becomes far more complicated, and yes, controversial.
The High Cost program exists primarily to make sure that Americans living in rural areas have affordable access to telecommunications services. With the recent creation of Connect America, the program now focuses primarily on broadband access. The FCC estimates that between 18 and 19 million Americans currently lack access to robust broadband service.
Like their non-Latino counterparts, most Latinos tend to live in cities. However, according to the 2010 census, Latinos now comprise close to 10% of rural America and are the largest new population contributors to rural communities. We are growing as a percentage of rural Americans.
In 2011, the FCC formally launched Connect America which will transfer 4.5 billion dollars for the express purpose of providing broadband services to areas which still lack it. The High Cost program spent over 1.3 billion dollars in 2013 assuring rural connection. And Phase 1 of Connect America spent 115 million dollars specifically for broadband access. That amount is matched by tens of millions of dollars of private investment.
Latinos growing up in small town and rural America need Connect America. And because the larger demographic trend is for Americans to move from rural to urban areas, it makes sense that our kids understand All Things Internet before they make the transition to the cities of America.
The two principal programs under Low Income are Link Up America and Lifeline.
Link Up America exists to provide telephone installation supplements up to $30.00 and annual interest free loans for additional installations up to $200.00. The fact that it’s still an extraordinarily important and well-utilized program underscores the very real nature of the digital divide.
Lifeline provides discounts on phone service up to $10.00 per month. Qualifications vary from state to state depending on poverty guidelines but a common guideline for qualification is income at or below 135% of federal poverty standards. This program has been the subject of controversy as to whether some recipients have misrepresented income. Again, however, if the goal is universal service, it’s imperative that poor Americans have assistance.
According to the annual report of the USAC, 1.8 billion dollars was distributed for Link Up America and Lifeline in 2013.
Rural Health Care
In the State of New Mexico, individuals living in remote areas such as some portions of the Navajo Nation essentially have no accessible health care. Appendicitis can be a lethal occurrence. The cure in the U.S. and increasingly around the globe is telemedicine. Both the ability of doctors to communicate with patients directly and receive health data quickly is saving lives. Patients in rural hospitals have access to the same range of medical expertise as their urban counterparts and better judgments can be made as to which maladies are treatable on site, or necessitate transport to a larger facility.
Within Rural Health Care, the Healthcare Connect Fund Program (HCF) was created with a goal of encouraging the establishment of regional broadband health care networks. Still in pilot, the HCF has disbursed over 212 million dollars with 400 million dollars in commitments.
There is a long way to go and not all of the responsibility lies within the mandate of the FCC. For example, different states have different laws regarding what is and is not practicing medicine. Can a doctor in California diagnose a disease in Illinois and prescribe a medication without also being licensed in Illinois? There is a massive need for reformation of State laws to make sure that every person who succumbs to illness can have the benefit of the best medical advice, regardless of whether they are in the same state as the health care provider.
Schools and Libraries
The E-Rate program connects schools and libraries across the nation in amounts dependent upon their poverty qualification. It provides eligible K012 public schools and libraries 20% to 90% discounts on approved Internet connections, costs and access. The discounts are based on students eligible for the National School Lunch Program with poorer areas being eligible for greater discounts. E-Rate is a recognition that if we can’t get high speed broadband in every home, we should at least make sure that it is available in every neighborhood. In 2013, USAC disbursed over 2.2 Billion dollars to connect schools externally and internally and provide functional training. Regrettably, annual demand is roughly double what is available.
Last year, the Obama Administration announced ConnectED, a 5 year program to connect 99 percent of students to the Internet. Clearly, E-Rate is important to Latinos and all Americans.
Today it is difficult to find a school or library that is not somehow connected. The debate has moved substantially to the quality of that connection. Dial up access is not the answer. Poor kids deserve the same access to high speed broadband as their economically more fortunate counterparts. Computers and the Internet in classrooms are simply tools. Teachers need to be adequately trained in how to most effectively use them as educational tools.
The E-Rate Program has been highly controversial and indeed, a recent effort to expand it was defeated in part on the argument that it has been the subject of fraud, numerous investigations and a fair amount of litigation. In other words, some argued that it couldn’t be expanded until it’s fixed. But the objective evidence is overwhelming that kids have benefited from the E-Rate Program.
HTTP believes that the E-Rate Program is extraordinarily important. Look for future HTTP articles about it and the USF. Are they broken and if so, what do we need to do to fix them? Our kids are counting on us.
October 10, 2014
By Rosa Mendoza, HTTP Executive Director
Where are the Latino Geeks? Not in Silicon Valley, that we know. There is an unacceptably low percentageof Latino innovators and influencers in Silicon Valley; not to mention the technology industry as a whole. Many factors contribute to this unacceptable dearth in participation but one example, that is readily curable, is the low rate at which minority-owned businesses, especially those that are owned by Latinos, are able to secure broadcast spectrum licenses to participate as owners in one of the major segments of our economy – communications. Without immediate FCC rule changes to the congressionally mandated Designated Entity (DE) program, opportunities for diverse entry and spectrum ownership, by Latinos will continue to be dismal and mismatched to our level of consumer engagement as mobile users.
Spectrum auctions and licensing are both very important topics that impact minority- and women-owned businesses. Unfortunately, these issues do not get nearly enough news coverage and, consequently, many Latinos do not understand the importance of these areas in generating wealth in our communities.
What is spectrum? Wireless telecommunications and LAN signals are broadcast over specific electromagnetic wave frequency ranges, typically anywhere from 300-3,000 MHz, depending on the application. Depending on the material, higher frequency waves tend to be able to penetrate better than lower frequencies, especially in urban footprints where it is extremely important to have higher frequency blocks of spectrum. As expected, lower frequency wavelengths carry better over long distances, without interruption, and these tend to work well in rural areas.
Since 1994, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has regulated and assigned licenses to companies from subdivided ranges of these signals. Over the years, the FCC also assigns frequencies through a competitive bidding – or auction – process. Winning at auction requires a lot of capital and it is no surprise that large, entrenched telecommunications companies have had the ability, along with necessary capital, to dominate spectrum auctions. Congress anticipated this problem and sought to include safeguards to prevent the FCC and large companies from excluding small and diverse businesses, potentially leading to an overconcentration of broadcast licenses among larger incumbents. In fact, Congress mandated that the FCC take steps to ensure the participation of small businesses, minority-and women-owned businesses, and rural telephone companies, collectively known as DEs. Early on in its implementation, the DE rules facilitated meaningful small business participation, particularly for new entrants. Today, the current DE rules have created a stalemate in minority spectrum ownership, and reversed the intent of the congressional mandate by making it, in fact, harder for small businesses to participate as spectrum bidders.
The largest regulatory barriers standing in the way of new DE entry and diverse competition are outdated rules and financing expectations that do not account for the marketplace in which mobile and wireless services have grown. One such rule is the Attributable Material Relationship (AMR) rule that without elimination will limit the ability of DEs to engage in creative, retail strategies such as leasing, wholesaling and other resale arrangements that could, in fact, generate more long-term sustainability for qualified entities.
Almost a month ago, Tom Wheeler, the FCC Chair, circulated a Notice for Proposed Rulemaking to explore new options, and perhaps revise rules, for the DE program to his fellow Commissioners. Today, that item was publicly distributed for comment, making this a historic FCC action.
The Hispanic Technology and Telecommunications Partnership (HTTP) looks forward to the FCC gathering timely and substantive input that will foster more meaningful participation of Latino small businesses and entrepreneurs as owners of commercial wireless spectrum. As more Latinos become wireless-only households, the ability to be owners and not just producers in the telecom sector is crucial. Between 1997 and 2002, Latino-owned businesses saw an 11% increase in employment despite national declines. To put that into practical terms, the Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) estimated in a 2010 report that it amounted to approximately 160,000 jobs that would have been lost without the growth of minority businesses.
As we move towards a digital culture leveraging the power of wireless technologies, the realization of minority ownership should be an attainable goal and a practical reality for Latino communities. As our communities and citizens strive for greater engagement and increased economic power, the burgeoning media and telecommunications sectors that now comprise more than one-sixth of the national economy should not be hands-off to Latino small and medium-sized business owners, suppliers and entrepreneurs.
October 10, 2014
By Martin Chavez, HTTP Senior Advisor
Filings and responses to the FCC’s proposed rules on the Open Internet are complete. A dialogue that should have been highly nuanced was reduced for the most part to a binary shouting match between proponents of Sec. 706 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act and proponents of Title II of the 1934 Communications Act. Where light was needed, heat was the most common product, particularly as many “so called” progressives chose to hurl racially charged insults at those with whom they disagreed. And shockingly, Democrats and Republicans disagreed!
For its part, the FCC held a series of roundtables at which Latinos were allowed to attend but embarrassingly, only one was allowed to actually participate. Including the hyper-generated email blasts to the FCC, the final count in favor of and opposed to the two primary modalities (Sec. 706 vs. Title II) proposed for assuring an Open Internet, appear to be about even.
Most minority and civil rights organizations, including Latino organizations, sided with the Minority Media Telecommunications Council in favor of Section 706. HTTP has been clear from the onset that it believes that what has served the Internet so well over the past decade – a light regulatory touch that has allowed innovators to create the Internet experience consumers enjoy today – should be a better path forward. In the Open Internet debate, this is reflective of Section 706 authority, particularly when contrasted with the uncertainties associated with Title II mandates originally designed for rotary telephones. So how did we get to this point and where do we go from here?
Part of the challenge is the ubiquity and nature of the Internet itself. Except for a handful of individuals who thought that chaining themselves to fixtures outside of the FCC building was a good idea, the conversation took place primarily on the Internet where debate can often take place fact free by people and organizations no one ever heard of. On line petitions and pleas by both sides for twitter comment (mostly centered around the sky falling) shut down the FCC computer system on a couple of occasions. A threatened “slow the Internet” down day to demonstrate the evil of paid prioritization never materialized – primarily because, like Jimmy McMillan’s “The Rent Is Too Damned High” Party, everyone agrees that “The Internet Is Too Damned Slow!”
No one really knows what the FCC will ultimately decide, but it’s difficult to envision a rule that will please both sides of this extraordinarily contentious debate.
No matter what the FCC decides, and perhaps the courts thereafter, the challenge for everyone concerned about the Internet is to define a path forward that continues to lead toward universal service. Digital injustice is real. Kids who are already competitively disadvantaged need access. Rural Americans need access. When it comes to adoption, the dichotomy between rich and poor schools and rich and poor neighborhoods is real. We should ensure that our telecommunications laws and how they are interpreted are framed in the best way possible that promotes deployment of advanced networks and Internet access to reach all of our citizens, regardless of where they live. Anything less violates not just the spirit of the 1934 and 1996 Acts but fundamentally what we are about as a free and open society.
HTTP will continue to advocate for adoption and will continue to believe that robust investment in both infrastructure and access strategies is the best answer. In such a competitive environment such as our current broadband ecosystem, where consumers can choose from any number of competitive providers for any number of Internet-based services and applications, government’s best approach should be to ensure that consumers are protected. Government has a rightful place to keep a discerning eye on the ever-growing trend toward endless mergers. But we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that the incredible U.S. Internet of today is the product of private investment and competition. Policies which discourage investment or competition work against Latinos. And when British comedian John Oliver, hilarious as he usually is, screams platitudes about Net Neutrality, a look at England’s policies around the Internet might be in order. Heavy handed regulation there has truly resulted in an Internet that “is too damned slow!”
October 7, 2014
Politic365 by Kristal High
October 3, 2014
Following the release of the Federal Communications Commission’s proposed Open Internet rules, an all too familiar narrative has played out about the dozens of national minority organizations and individuals that dared to disagree with some edge companies and public interest groups on how best to achieve an Open Internet. The meme used to attack these folks is a cheap, low blow: they must have taken charitable contributions in exchange for their advocacy for a position partly shared by telecom carriers. The “you disagree with us so you must be stupid or corrupt” line of reasoning is a new low for the progressive movement. It may be a great rallying cry for making a lot of noise and frustrating the political process. But it’s not so great if you actually want to support informed policymaking.
Never mind the fact that the individuals and organizations under attack actually believe in and champion an open Internet. The hard facts are that minority organizations sometimes do receive charitable contributions – and the organizations actually invest these contributions to provide access to computers, broadband connections, digital literacy training, and invaluable information about how to leverage the Internet as an engine of production and entrepreneurship.
Perpetrated by “progressives” and “conservatives” alike, this line of reasoning comes to the inherently racist conclusion that individuals and organizations representing people of color are not entitled to have divergent views on nuanced public policy issues. As a corollary, it tells me that even though I graduated from some of the best schools in the nation, and wear many hats as momtrepreneur, lawyer, communications strategist, and publisher of a liberal political blog, I am incapable of thinking for myself, and that I must not be permitted to work with clients who support my views on social justice issues.
September 23, 2014
Hal Singer, Contributor, Forbes
The FCC Open Internet Roundtables began last week, and if the agency were judging solely on the merits, the debate would be over. But net neutrality will be decided in part on popular opinion, which makes this race too hard to call.
The FCC hearings put the matter in the hands of experts from all fields, from engineering to economics to the law. Campaign slogans were excluded from the debates. It is no accident that Free Press, despite having a seat at the table at one session, was clamoring for the FCC to move the hearings outside of Washington.
When Jon Peha, professor of engineering at Carnegie Mellon, testified on the first day (session 2, at 17:24) that different quality-of-service offerings would be good for content providers, and should be available at a positive price, you could almost hear the air being drained from the net neutrality balloon. Professor Christopher Yoo of Pennsylvania’s Law School concurred (session 2, at 27:30). If this were a boxing match, it would have been called in round one.
September 16, 2014
Jeff Pulver, USA Today
For anyone born after 1985, the idea of connecting with a relative on FaceTime, Skyping a friend traveling abroad or discussing a Halo mission with friends over a headset in real time is second nature.
But it’s equally true that these services might never have come to pass without significant efforts over a decade ago by many in the Internet community to keep government regulators at bay as they actively considered how to regulate one of the forerunners of these technologies — a novel Internet-based communications service called Free World Dial-up (FWD).
In 1995, when I was preparing my first venture into VoIP service (Internet telephony), most “experts” said Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, which imposed utility-like rules on traditional monopoly phone service, would prevent using the Internet to transmit a voice call or otherwise subject these VoIP services to deadening rate regulations and other anachronistic rules.
August 21, 2014
By Rosa Mendoza
First enacted in 1998, the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA) is a federal law that prohibits state and local governments from taxing Internet access or placing multiple or discriminatory taxes on Internet commerce. This legislation has been extended three times with huge bipartisan support, but it expires again on November 1, 2014 and if it is not extended or made permanent, it could cost taxpayers billions of dollars, hinder Internet adoption rates and widen the digital divide.
In July of this year, the House voted to make the ITFA permanent, but the Senate has yet to consider its version of a bill to renew the legislation. Time is running out and Washington should make the ITFA a top priority in order to protect Americans from new imposed taxes on Internet access. Extending the moratorium on taxing Internet access could also prevent consumers from incurring possible duplicative taxes and fees imposed by state and local entities. In addition, permanently extending the moratorium would allow American businesses to be able to effectively compete in today’s global economy.
The ITFA has facilitated affordable Internet access to minority communities in the home by preventing multiple or discriminatory taxation, which demonstrates the importance of this legislation. However, Internet adoption rates among Latinos continue to lag and taxes on Internet access will hinder technology adoption and hurt Latinos and low income families who still do not have the proper broadband connection at home. According to a study conducted by the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), cost can be an important factor in consumer adoption of new technologies. A Pew Research Center survey last year indicated that 24% of Latinos do not go online. Pew also reports that while 79% of whites use the Internet at home, only 63% of Latinos do. Latinos have shown progress in adopting mobile broadband and this progress must continue in the home.
Without affordable Internet access, many unconnected Americans still remain at a disadvantage and face limited economic opportunity. Internet access without unnecessary taxation is crucial for American families to search for jobs, access educational opportunities, healthcare and government services and to provide small businesses and entrepreneurs with the ability to conduct business in local and international markets. The ITFA must be extended permanently, in order to ensure that Americans do not face additional barriers to access the Internet.
August 15, 2014
By Rosa Mendoza
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently updated the Schools and Libraries Program, better known as the E-rate program. By way of background, the E-rate program was enacted in 1997 by the FCC in response to congressional mandates to make telecommunications and information services more affordable for schools and libraries in America. Eligible schools and libraries are able to apply for discounted access to telecommunications (and associated services), Internet access, and internal connections, such as wired and wireless hardware, as well as basic maintenance of internal connections. Funds currently allocated to this program are $2.4 billion and the amount requested has exceeded the budgeted amount all but one year since the program’s inception.
E-rate program funds are prioritized into “priority one” and “priority two” services. Priority one services include requests for telecommunications, telecommunications services, and Internet access services. Priority two services are considered requests for internal connections and basic maintenance of internal connections. Additionally, requests are prioritized by poverty level with the highest poverty levels being served first.
On July 11 of this year, the FCC adopted a new Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that will expand funding for Wi-Fi networks in public schools and libraries, provide better cost efficiency within the program, and streamline the E-rate application process and project administration. Contrarily, the E-rate program is reducing funding and phasing out support for non-broadband services such as landline phones. E-rate will maintain its $2.4 billion budget, which has only adjusted with inflation since the program began. An additional $2 billion will be made available over the next two years to support Wi-Fi connectivity in public schools and libraries.
On the surface, expanding Wi-Fi access seems to be a logical step toward creating parity in broadband access in public schools and libraries. One major consideration in analyzing the impact on the Latino community, however, is access to Wi-Fi-enabled devices. Many Latinos access the Internet through mobile devices such as smartphones and these specific devices do not facilitate several crucial activities on the Internet, such as job searching, accessing educational, healthcare and government services. According to Pew Research Center 81 perfect of lower-income families, specifically non-white, youth and senior, and low education segments of the population say it is “very important” for public libraries to not only provide free Internet access but also computers. This indicates that many minority and lower-income families do not have access to Wi-Fi-enabled devices and would not be able to take full advantage of this type of broadband access. Pew additionally found that Latinos are more than twice as likely to access the Internet from outside of their home and households earning less than $30,000 per year (all races included) are three times as likely to use the Internet from somewhere other than their home. These factors indicate this newly adopted Order could have a significant negative impact on Latino access to broadband and educational materials in the public sphere.
Another potentially negative impact to the Latino community is the E-rate policy regarding public libraries because, as mentioned, Latinos access the Internet from outside of their homes with greater frequency than their white counterparts. The policy provides funding based on square footage rather than number of users within the space. Wi-Fi performance is dependent on number of users and the nature of the usage of the individuals. Generally, more users means lower levels of performance and less connectivity. It is worth noting that the original order had $1 per square foot as the amount a library is able to request. Libraries asked for either $4 per square foot or a per-visitor model. The approved Order allows for $2.30 per square foot. It is unclear whether anyone has sought to correlate library square footage with neighborhood affluence and until that is done, there is no way to know if the more affluent neighborhoods will be better served than less affluent communities.
The Hispanic Technology and Telecommunications Partnership (HTTP) is disappointed that the FCC did not follow the lead of Commissioner Rosenworcel and expand funding for E-Rate. Keeping it at the same level as originally enacted in the face of the increased demand only guarantees under-service. Some opposed to expansion argued that the Universal Services Fund (USF) from which the E-Rate monies flow first needs reformation. We do not disagree about the need for reformation of the USF, but again remain disappointed that this program which is critical to closing the digital divide for Latinos remains underfunded for any reason. Latinos shouldn’t have to wait for USF perfection before getting expanded E-Rate service. How many generations will be lost during that wait?
While the recent Order is a good step toward Wi-Fi access in public spaces across the country, there are still many issues that need to be addressed moving forward. The specific way Latinos and low-income families engage the Internet is not adequately addressed by this Order. It is also important to not only analyze how people are accessing the Internet but also to understand on which devices people are able to work and learn. Smartphones do not facilitate job acquisition, learning, and other key activities. Wi-Fi access is not sufficient without access to proper Wi-Fi enabled devices; therefore, many Americans may not be able to take full advantage of this Order.
August 12, 2014
By Sam Colt, Business Insider
Apple released its diversity numbers for employees on Monday, according to a report on its website. Apple said that 70% of its employees are male and 30% are female globally.
The company only released ethnicity statistics for U.S. employees: 55% are white, 15% are Asian, and 7% are black. In a memo announcing the diversity statistics Apple CEO Tim Cook said, “I’m not satisfied with the numbers on this page.”Apple’s diversity report underscores a broader diversity issue in tech. Companies like Pinterest, LinkedIn, Yahoo, and Twitter have also recently disclosed disappointing employee diversity reports.
August 11, 2014
By John Eggerton, NewBay Media
Rainbow PUSH founder Rev. Jesse Jackson says that attacks on his group, NAACP, the Minority Media & Telecommunications Council and others over their stand on media issues are unwarranted, counterproductive and are deepening the divisions between social justice groups and advocates working toward the same goal: “social justice and equity.”
“We can disagree without dehumanizing others and sending mainstream media mobs to launch targeted smear campaigns on organizations and their leaders,” he said in a statement sent to B&C/Multichannel News.
Looking to put more civility in civil rights issues, Jackson said that he found being labeled a shill for big media “highly offensive” as well as inaccurate.
August 11, 2014
By Lucas Mearian, Healthcare IT
Computerworld – With an aging Baby Boomer population and broadband bandwidth improved a hundredfold from a decade ago, telemedicine is exploding as a convenient and less costly alternative to the traditional visit to the doctors’ office.
This year in the U.S. and Canada, 75 million of 600 million appointments with general practitioners will involve electronic visits, or eVisits, according to new research from Deloitte.
The overall cost of in-person primary physician visits worldwide is $175 billion, according to Deloitte. Globally, the number of eVisits will climb to 100 million this year, potentially saving over $5 billion when compared to the cost of in-person doctor visits. The eVisit projection represents growth of 400% from 2012 levels, Deloitte’s study showed.
August 8, 2014
By Gil Aegerter, TODAY Health
Fifty-three percent of teens who reported talking on a phone while driving were chatting with mom or dad, according to a study presented Friday at the American Psychological Association’s annual convention in Washington. The numbers for texting were smaller but still significant. For instance, 18 percent of all 18-year-olds— not just those who reported texting while driving— said they texted with their parents.
It’s a dilemma for parents: You want to call your child to know where she is, but you don’t want her talking to you while she’s steering a 3,000-pound machine 60 mph down the highway. And parents’ conflicting desires put teens in a bind, too.
“Teens said parents expect to be able to reach them, that parents get mad if they don’t answer their phone,” said study co-author Noelle LaVoie, a cognitive psychologist based in Petaluma, California.
August 5, 2014
Jason A. Llorenz, Rutgers University School of Communication & Information
We hear about disruptive innovation everywhere in the tech space. The words get thrown in as an argument, a goal, an ideal — a sacred totem of sorts — in almost every aspect of debate over technology policy.
That’s because disruptive innovation through technology — particularly broadband-powered technology — is the key to solving some of our greatest human problems.
The Internet will power the technological disruptions offering some of the most social good. Think of the benefits of Internet-powered learning environments for school children, where students’ laptops and mobile tablets and phones surround a student in connected, gamified learning. Imagine your grandmother, suffering through a heart condition, spending more days at home because of direct contact with a doctor over her the internet. These are the things the internet makes possible.
August 4, 2014
By Brian Witte, U.S. News Education
As you gather your back-to-school essentials and prepare to start your freshman year of college, your virtual backpack is one item that should make your list.
In this increasingly digital age, there is a plethora of networks, platforms and tools aimed squarely at college students – one of the most information-hungry demographics. Not all tools are created equal, of course. Certain programs are easier to use, possess better integration across multiple platforms or offer more useful features with a premium subscription.
The following tips are your guide to a selection of the best applications and online tools for your virtual college backpack to help you study smarter from the moment you arrive on campus.
July 24, 2014
By Jason A. Llorenz, Rutgers University School of Communication & Information
As a national community, we debate and think often about the impact of the Internet on our lives. The issues that emerge in those conversations are tied to real needs – for affordable connectivity, access to laptops and mobile tech for learning and business, as examples. Latino tech leaders talk about the stories of Dreamers organizing on social media via mobile devices, and how they kept up with el Mundial at work, by checking Facebook from their phones.
Net neutrality doesn’t even come up in conversation. Yet the outcome of the seemingly never ending debate over net neutrality or the “Open Internet” does have an important effect: it distracts us from the real issues facing the Internet and those depending on it.
July 24, 2014
By Elizabeth Weise and Jessica Guynn, USA TODAY
SAN FRANCISCO — Succumbing to growing public pressure, Twitter released the gender and ethnic breakdown of its work force Wednesday, showing that it looks like most other major technology companies: overwhelming male, white and Asian.
In the U.S., nearly 90% of Twitter’s workers are white or Asian. And more than 90% of technology jobs in the U.S. are held by whites or Asians.
Men make up 70% of all staff but 90% of technology staff, according to figures released by the company’s vice president for diversity and inclusion, Janet Van Huysse.
July 20, 2014
HTTP partnered with the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council (MMTC) and 35 other national minority organizations to file comments in the FCC’s proceeding to protect and promote the open Internet. The group urged the Commission to focus its broadband policies on promoting adoption, engagement, and informed broadband use by minorities, and to exercise its Section 706 authority to protect all consumers’ rights to an open Internet. In the filing, the organizations opposed Title II reclassification of the Internet under the 1934 Telecommunications Act, arguing that it would stifle broadband adoption among vulnerable populations, and would limit investment and innovation that have benefitted its constituents. Six HTTP member organizations also joined independently in the filing: Dialogue on Diversity; LISTA; MANA: A National Latina Organization; the National Puerto Rican Coalition; SER Jobs for Progress; and The Latino Coalition.
July 18, 2014
By Nydia Gutierrez, Mobile Technology Advocate
Next week, nearly 2,000 people will gather at the Los Angeles Convention Center for the National Council of La Raza’s convention, the largest annual event for Latino leaders and advocates in the country. This year’s theme is “Think. Create. Aspire” and the focus is on the major issues and opportunities facing our community.
Mobile technology is one of the biggest drivers of opportunity and success in the Latino community. Earlier this year, a Neilsen survey on wireless called Latinos “trendsetters in digital, leading the growth in [smartphone] device ownership and online usage.” And last month, Social Lens Research for Mobile Future, LATISM and the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce jointly released a survey of more than 500 Latino small businesses showing that 62% credit mobile technology with adding at least 5% growth to their business while 83% say mobile technology has increased business productivity.
On Monday, July 21, I’ll host a panel, “Economic Empowerment in a Wireless World,” at the NCLR convention on this topic and how mobile technologies are specifically helping Latina entrepreneurs grow their businesses. Sponsored by Mobile Future, the panel will also explore how mobile users can expand opportunities in mobile healthcare, education and civic involvement. Panelists include LATISM founder Ana Roca-Castro, Social Lens Research CEO Julie Diaz-Asper, Cricket Wireless executive Monica Cevallos, and The Julia Group founder Dr. AnnMaria De Mars.
In order for entrepreneurs in our community to continue to excel in business, mobile technology must continue to advance as well. Fortunately, the federal government is taking the right steps to make that happen.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is planning the first major wireless spectrum auction since 2008. Tentatively scheduled for next year, this auction is vital to developing better, faster and more accessible high-speed mobile broadband for consumers across the country. If successful, the auction will also raise billions to help pay down the national deficit. The FCC, especially its Chairman Tom Wheeler, should be acknowledged for designing a fair and open auction framework. Their efforts increase the likelihood that all mobile users, including Latino entrepreneurs, will benefit.
Latina entrepreneur, Maria Contreras-Sweet said this spring when President Obama swore her in as Small Business Administrator, “Today, Americans can use their smartphone to scan their checks and make bank deposits from their living room.” She also emphasized the need for government and the private sector to ensure that products in the future “are accessible and relevant in this technological age.”
Contreras-Sweet is right – advances in mobile technology have the potential to open doors for all Americans, and are especially crucial for Latino entrepreneurs. Lawmakers and stakeholders should continue to work hard to enact policies that will facilitate this mobile-fueled economic growth.
July 11, 2014
By Brian Fung, The Washington Post
Regulators have just approved a big package of federal aid for schools and libraries so that they can upgrade their WiFi networks, as part of a larger effort to modernize the way educators connect their charges to the Web.
In a 3-2 vote along party lines Friday, the FCC greenlit a plan to spend $2 billion over the next two years on subsidies for internal networks. The move also begins a process to phase out some subsidies under the federal program, known as E-Rate, for services and equipment that are on the decline, such as pagers and dial-up Internet service.
July 11, 2014
Liyan Chen, Forbes
On average, US company board composition is nearly 90% men. To be exact, just 10.7% of all board members are females, according to Gender Map, a data visualization project created by London-based startup Data Morphosis. Among the three major U.S. stock benchmarks, only one company – cosmetic giant Avon Products AVP -0.69% — has more than 50% female board members. Eighteen S&P 500 companies — including familiar names like Discovery Communications DISCA +0.27% and Chesapeake Energy CHK -1.62% — have no women represented on their boards.
July 7, 2014
By Christopher S. Yoo, U-T San Diego
As the Federal Communications Commission considers whether to regulate the Internet as a public utility, it should look to the real-world experiences of other countries which have followed that course.
Consider Europe, which has long subjected the Internet to the regulatory regime applicable to the telephone system, just as proposed in the U.S. If promoting investment in high-seed services is the goal, the results in Europe have been far from encouraging.
June 24, 2014
A REPORT ON THE STATE OF LATINOS IN U.S. MEDIA
By Frances Negrón-Muntaner with Chelsea Abbas, Luis Figueroa, and Samuel Robson;
Columbia University, 6/19/2014
Latinos are a powerful force in American society. Topping fifty-three million, Latinos constitute one of the fastest growing ethnic groups in the United States, comprising 17% of the population and over 20% of the key 18–34 marketing demographic.1 Relative to the general population, Latinos also attend more movies and listen to radio more frequently than do any other U.S. racial or ethnic group.2 In addition, their purchasing power is steadily increasing. By 2015, Hispanic buying power is expected to reach $1.6 trillion. To put this figure in perspective: if U.S Latinos were to found a nation, that economy would be the 14th largest in the world.3
Latinos are not only avid media consumers; they have made important contributions to the film and television industries, and currently over-index as digital communicators and online content creators.4 Moreover, they are watchful of their image: when programs or films are perceived to have anti-Latino content, advocacy groups and consumers target studios and networks with increasingly effective campaigns. Simultaneously, programs and movies featuring compelling Latino talent and storylines are rewarded with high ratings and revenue.
June 17, 2014
Steve Forbes, Reuters, 6/9/14
Special-interest groups are calling for public-utility regulations to be placed on the Internet — the most innovative and society-shaping deregulatory success story of our time. These people are trying to exert control over the Internet through “net neutrality” regulations that will likely benefit only a few huge Internet companies and the top 1 percent of Internet users.
Net neutrality was developed to ensure that Internet users had the freedom to view all the legal content they wanted. Recently, however, there has been a shift in focus: Some of the largest Internet companies are citing “net neutrality” as a reason to enshrine specific privileges that largely benefit them.
If these content companies get their way — and the Federal Communications Commission is now deliberating this — Americans will be forced to shoulder the costs for the high-speed networks and infrastructure upgrades needed to support high-volume Internet traffic generators, such as Netflix. Whether they use those services or not.
May 14, 2014
By Martin Chavez, Senior Advisor
In today’s modern world, fast Internet service is a necessity for our always-connected, “on the go” lifestyles. An increasing number of Americans rely on smart broadband-enabled devices. This is especially true for Hispanics who are among the most enthusiastic broadband users, relying on mobile broadband at higher rates than other populations, and adopting new devices and technologies at a faster pace.
It’s understandable. Being online helps us all find critical information at a moment’s notice. Whether we are looking for employment information, to complete our banking tasks, access information, watch our favorite shows, or to keep in touch with friends, families or colleagues, we have all integrated these abilities into our daily lives and frankly take them for granted. And as our devices become more sophisticated, as our needs evolve, and as more consumers get on-line, our nation’s networks struggle to meet demand and to deliver the service experiences that people need.
That’s why the FCC’s upcoming spectrum incentive auction is so important: These valuable airwaves known as “spectrum,” are necessary for carriers to improve and enhance mobile networks, and careful measures should be taken to ensure that the auction will be a success. Unfortunately, the FCC has stated its support for auction rules that would limit bidding and restrict certain carriers from full participation.
Last month, 78 House Democrats weighed in on this issue and sent a letter to FCC Chairman Wheeler, urging him to adopt regulations that would both maximize participation and auction proceeds. These legislators are on the record in support of fair and open bidding, and at HTTP, we appreciate and share this position. It struck us that many Latino Members of Congress from Hispanic communities supported this effort including Loretta Sanchez (CA), Raul Ruiz (CA), Albio Sires (NJ), Henry Cuellar (TX), Joaquin Castro (TX), Pete Gallego (TX), Raul Grijalva (AZ), Luis Gutierrez (IL), and Filemon Vela (TX). We look forward to working with all of them to help spread the word about how critical this is for the nation’s growing Latino community and for our country’s predominance as a tech innovator.
Not only will these crucial airwaves enhance our mobile experience, but the auction proceeds are earmarked for three different but very important purposes: to reimburse broadcasters who relinquish their spectrum, to fund FirstNet (a nationwide public safety broadband network), and to reduce the national deficit.
All of these goals are critical for our people and for our country. This is yet another reason we believe these rules should be designed to maximize auction proceeds by allowing all qualified carriers equal opportunity to purchase spectrum without restriction. Setting limits that favor certain companies over others will drive spectrum prices down, jeopardize the success of the auction, and possibly even discourage broadcasters from participating—after all, if they believe they won’t get top dollar for their spectrum, they may reasonably choose to hold on to it.
If the FCC wants to hold a successful auction, they need to implement simple and fair bidding rules that allow all carriers to compete equally. Only then will the auction produce the highest possible revenues and benefit the consumers and communities who rely on high speed broadband networks.
April 22, 2014
As seen on FCW
By: Adam Mazmanian
Federal regulators are moving ahead with plans to open large swathes of the federal spectrum for sharing with the private sector. Although concrete changes are still at least a few years away, agencies are seeking to comply with a 2013 presidential directive to report on their spectrum holdings and use, with the goal of identifying opportunities for sharing.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the Commerce Department component that manages federal spectrum holdings, has just launched Spectrum.gov to warehouse the inventory reports. The site does not have visualizations, open-source APIs or extensible datasets. Instead, it is a page on NTIA’s main website that offers a series of reports on government spectrum holdings in the bands from 225 MHz to 5 GHz.
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April 22, 2014
As seen in Telecompetitor
By: Andrew Burger
The results of a new consumer survey turn conventional wisdom about age and smartphone use on its head. Older generations – Baby Boomers and Seniors – are in fact embracing smartphones and online mobile Web services when they go shopping, according to market research produced by Thrive Analytics and released today by the Local Search Association.
It’s still true that a higher percentage of younger shoppers sometimes rely on their mobile devices while out shopping: 97% of Gen Y respondents (18-29) and 91% of Gen X (30-43) as compared to 81% of Young Boomers (44-53), and 69% pf Older Boomers & Seniors (54+). Stats on the size of these age groups and their disposable incomes would add yet clearer perspective on these percentages.
The consumer survey also reveals that comparing prices is the number 1 reason mobile users across all age groups use their devices in stores: 60% of Gen Y and the same percentage of Gen X respondents; 52% and 51% of Young Boomers, and Older Boomers & Seniors, respectively. Coupons and promotional offers ranked as the second most popular reason for smartphone use in aid of shopping while in-store.
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April 22, 2014
As seen in MediaPost Publications
By: Jack Loechner
According to a report from Univision and the Interactive Advertising Bureau, there are 17 million Hispanic millennials in the United States today that are between the ages of 18-30 years old, and 76% of U.S. Hispanic adults, with a mobile device, own a smartphone, up from 67% of the overall population.
The respondents owned an average of five different mobile devices, and viewed owning their first smartphone as a major life moment. Marketers are particularly interested in this demographic because the group over-indexes on mobile and gives marketers some insight into what marketing will look like in the coming years, says the report.
Joe Laszlo, senior director of the Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence at the IAB, says “… …millennials are living their lives in a slightly different way than the rest of us because smartphones… (have been) such a part of their lives for such a long time…
“One of the more interesting findings from the “US Hispanic Millennials: Portraits of a Mobile-First Generation,” is that Hispanic millennials do not view a difference between being online and offline. In fact, this group only views themselves as going offline when they want to hide or make themselves unavailable to others, says the report…”
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April 3, 2014
As seen in the Miami Herald
By: Ina Paiva Cordle
Targeting Hispanics, Google will soon launch a new domain, called .soy (.I am) — another avenue toward reaching the vast, tech-savvy, Spanish-speaking market, a Google executive disclosed during a panel discusssion at the Hispanicize 2014 conference on Wednesday.
As Latinos have become a powerful consumer force and the fastest-growing users of mobile devices, major companies like Google are increasingly looking for ways to attract them.
“Latinos are about to create a revolution in technology,” said Eliana Murillo, head of multicultural marketing for Google. “If they can determine the presidential election, they can definitely determine the future of technology.
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March 26, 2014
By: Rosa Mendoza
Since 1987, Women’s History Month has been observed annually in the United States. Each March, women’s contributions to society, history and culture are highlighted and celebrated –and rightfully so. Women have made immense contributions to our country, and our economic sector has certainly been a beneficiary of those contributions. That’s why this month, the Hispanic Technology and Telecommunications Partnership (HTTP) is proud to applaud and highlight the contributions of Hispanic women, the Latina entrepreneurs who continuously contribute to the economic well-being of our families, communities and nation.
As one of the fastest-growing groups of small business owners, Latina entrepreneurship is growing at a rate six times the national average. Latinas’ impact on Latino-owned firms has resulted in at least 36% ownership, 20% of employment and 16% contribution to the revenue generated in these business ventures.
One example is Nina G. Vaca. Wise entrepreneurs like Vaca play an important role in our society. Vaca is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Pinnacle Technical Resources, Inc., an information technology services provider to Fortune 500 companies. Under Vaca’s management, the company has experienced unprecedented growth, bringing in revenues close to $600 million. Vaca is a key contributor to the strength of the American economy.
While HTTP proudly celebrates the successes and contributions of Latinas like Vaca, the flip side is that Latinas continue to be at a disadvantage in business participation. Factors such as lack of access to capital, inadequate financial literacy training, and barriers to business grants and loans can make the goal of owning a business difficult to obtain for Latinas. In the tech sector, Latinas are completely overlooked; they continue to be underrepresented in positions of power, in the boardrooms and in the overall work force. In addition, like all women, Latinas are the most vulnerable segment of the population as it relates to the gender wage gap.
Latina-owned businesses create jobs, pay taxes, and contribute to the prosperity of America’s economy. The diversity of perspective can generate better ideas and contribute to the success of any company, and thus it is crucial to provide Latinas, and all women, with the opportunities they have earned and deserve. As we wrap up Women’s History Month, let us always remember, not just in March, that as goes the success of our women entrepreneurs, so too goes the success of America.
March 26, 2014
A seen in The New York Times
By: Beth Gardiner
Estonia is teaching first graders how to create their own computer games and offering scholarships to entice more undergraduates into technology-driven disciplines. In England, an updated national curriculum will soon expose every child in the state school system to computer programming, starting at age five. The American “Hour of Code” effort says it has already persuaded 28 million people to give programming a try.
Around the world, students from elementary school to the Ph.D. level are increasingly getting acquainted with the basics of coding, as computer programming is also known. From Singapore to Tallinn, governments, educators and advocates from the tech industry argue that it has become crucial to hold at least a basic understanding of how the devices that play such a large role in modern life actually work…
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March 13, 2014
By: Rosa Mendoza
Upgrading our circuit-switched telephone system to an Internet-based network is inevitable, especially now that most Americans are abandoning their antiquated landlines and adopting newer, more versatile broadband technologies to communicate. Our current, voice-centric Plain Old Telephone System (POTS) no longer meets consumer demand for a modernized communications infrastructure that can empower our lives and help us attain our goals. And in order for next-generation communications systems to run smoothly, we must ensure that these networks are reliable and affordable.
More importantly, we need to ensure that the new network is accessible to all Americans, including those who live in rural areas. Melinda Chiprez, a Spanish instructor at Yakima Valley Community College (YVCC) in the State of Washington, knows this firsthand. In her hometown of Sunnyside, where 82 percent of the population is Latino, it’s not surprising that most people rely on a cellphone to meet all of their business and personal needs. The rate of cellphone ownership among Latinos is increasing, sometimes surpassing the ownership rate of other groups in America. However, many Latino communities like Sunnyside do not have adequate access to broadband at home or in schools and libraries, and they continue to suffer from the digital divide.
As a teacher concerned about the future of her students and community, Chiprez views technology as a necessity in her classes and a vital learning tool at home. However, only some buildings in YVCC have Internet access – and oftentimes not high-speed Internet – while many Sunnyside residents only have access to the Internet via their phones. Old networks are also interfering with the way Chiprez’s mother wants to run her small business. While her mother exclusively uses her cellphone to help run the daycare she operates from her home, the state of Washington requires her to pay for a landline that she never uses.
Chiprez wants her community to be well informed, to be able to take advantage of modern technologies and for the small businesses like her mother’s to flourish by having access to the benefits, and opportunities, modern networks can provide. The story of Mrs. Chiprez and her community is just one of many in our country. People in disadvantaged communities, all over the country, would benefit from more robust and dynamic broadband networks that support the full use of newer technologies.
Let us work together to ensure that modern networks benefit all Americans, all communities, and all businesses. Investing in the modernization of our communications infrastructure, improving the high-speed connectivity in rural areas, and giving community colleges like YVCC high-speed Internet access can help close the digital divide and ensure that America remains the world’s leader in technology and innovation.
March 10, 2014
As featured on Latinovations
By: FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel
Across the country, one in four public elementary school students is Latino. And this number is growing. The U.S. Census Bureau projects that, in about 20 years, Latinos will compose one-third of the nation’s school age children. And in some states, like Texas, Latinos became the majority of public school students years ago. These numbers matter because we have yet to close what educators term the Latino “achievement gap.” According to the Department of Education, Latino students on average lag roughly two grade levels behind white students in reading and math exams. And Latino students lag behind their white and Asian peers in high school graduation rates in all but two states. This gap can be even greater for Latino students that are English language learners.
Now, I’m a regulator, not an educator. But as a member of the Federal Communications Commission, I’ve had a front-row seat to the digital revolution. Broadband and cloud computing are revolutionizing education. The traditional teaching tools that I grew up with – chalky blackboards and hardback books – are giving way to interactive digital content delivered through high-speed broadband…
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February 28, 2014
HTTP to Resume the Leadership Position to Fully Represent the Latino Voice on Issues of Technology and Telecommunications
WASHINGTON, D.C., March 5, 2014. We are proud to announce the re-launch of the Hispanic Technology and Telecommunications Partnership (HTTP). The organization is being reactivated to provide a more coherent and forceful Latino voice on matters pertaining to technology and telecommunications. The re-launch reception will take place on Wednesday, March 5, 2014, in the Russell Senate Office Building, room 485 from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.
We are also pleased to announce and welcome Martin J Chávez who has joined HTTP as Senior Advisor and Rosa Mendoza who joined the team as Executive Director. Mr. Chávez comes to HTTP with 12 years of experience as Mayor of Albuquerque. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), a consultant at the Ibarra Strategy Group and a former Executive Director of ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability USA. Ms. Mendoza joins HTTP from The Raben Group, where she served as Manager of Special Projects and Associate. Formerly, Ms. Mendoza served as Assistant Finance Director and Scheduler for Congressman Henry Cuellar and as the Media Relations Executive for the Hispanic Communications Network (HCN).
The Hispanic Technology and Telecommunications Partnership (HTTP) is the leading national Latino voice on telecommunications and technology policy issues. We are a nonpartisan coalition of national Latino organizations working to ensure that the full array of technological and telecommunications advancements are available to all Latinos in the United States. HTTP members are nonprofit organizations that support the social, political, and economic advancement of over 53 million Americans of Hispanic descent by facilitating access to high quality education, economic opportunity and effective health care through the use of technology tools and resources.
First formed in 1996, to ensure that the voices of U.S. Latinos were fully represented in policy discussions surrounding the Digital Divide, HTTP believes even more strongly today that Latino voices need to be raised and that policy makers must address Latino concerns. Policy makers can rely on HTTP to provide insight into how telecommunications/technology policy changes impact the Latino community and actions that need to be taken to further enhance broadband adoption by Latinos. HTTP testifies before Congress and regulatory agencies such as the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission as well at forums across the country.
Through its vibrant and robust national network, HTTP has the ability to draw upon unique sets of technological and academic expertise as they impact Latinos in the digital age.
February 27, 2014
By Rosa Mendoza and Martin J Chávez
Today, we announce the launch of the Hispanic Technology and Telecommunications Partnership (HTTP). This new beginning is an opportunity for optimism, vision, and collaboration as the nation’s leading Latino advocacy organizations forge their own path into the digital future.
We are witnessing incredible advances in technology all around us, from explosive growth in mobile and the app economy, now generating hundreds of thousands of jobs, to telemedicine and its implications for improving our healthcare system. With technological convergence we see greater competition between products and services as network providers strive to reach greater numbers of consumers with the best user experience.
While millions of Latinos have discovered the power of broadband and leverage technology and innovation, we also know there is work to do to provide all Americans with broadband access that is so critical in accessing opportunities for employment, healthcare, and education. According to the Pew Research Center’s survey last year, 24% of Hispanics do not go online. Pew Research Center also reports that while 79% of whites use the Internet at home, only 63% of Hispanics do. Hispanics have shown an eagerness to adopt mobile broadband, and this progress must continue in the home. We can do better.
Basic digital literacy is a necessity to participate in today’s global economy and technology-intensive society. Whether for public safety, better health information, distance learning for those in school or applying for a job online, so much of American life has an online aspect. Those without digital literacy skills run the risk of falling behind and missing out.
But while some are at risk of being left behind in the digital age, the laws governing our nation’s communications ecosystem are already far behind. It has been eighteen years since these laws were updated; a lifetime in the Internet Age. Fortunately, the House Energy and Commerce Committee has begun the process of updating the 1996 Communications Act, starting with an open process to study and gather information as part of modernizing the Act. HTTP intends to participate fully in this process, collecting and sharing relevant information, as well as providing a thoughtful and informed voice for Latino communities, educators, and businesses.
A critical piece of this picture is to continue to transition to broadband networks based on Internet Protocol (IP) rather than on the old switched telephone network. Less than one-third of households still connect to a circuit switched network, and still some network operators are required to maintain two networks, the old and the new, at a great cost. Eliminating costly, outdated networks will enable providers to invest and unleash newer, faster, IP-based networks. This one regulatory disparity, that requires some but not all carriers to maintain the antiquated network, demonstrates where modernization will lead to greater investment, greater access to broadband, and great benefits to the Latino community.
HTTP member organizations already serve the needs of the Latino community every day, whether in providing education, voter registration or delivering vital social services in the community. This is why HTTP will serve as the leading voice for the Latino community on issues of technology and telecommunications policy. We intend to blaze a trail that brings the Latino community face to face with the future – where practical skills and literacy, innovative next-generation networks, and career opportunities meet. We look forward to a constructive dialogue with the Administration, Congress, agencies, and stakeholders to promote pro-growth policies and a boundless future for all Americans.
February 25, 2014
As featured on the Wall Street Journal
By: Jeff Elder
Latinos are adopting smartphones faster than other U.S. ethnic and racial groups, Nielsen says in a new report.
The research firm says 72% of Latinos over 18 own smartphones, nearly 10 percentage points higher than the national average. Nearly half of Latinos, 49%, said they planned to upgrade their smartphones in the next six months.
The Nielsen report, released Monday, also documented the shift to accessing the Internet via mobile devices. According to Nielsen, Americans last year spent nine hours, 52 minutes more online on their smartphones each month than in 2012, and an hour and 54 minutes a month less online on computers than in 2012. Americans spend more time on smartphones than any medium other than television, said Nielsen Executive Vice President Megan Clarken…
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January 26, 2014
As seen on the Pew Research Internet Project
By: Susanna Fox & Lee Rainie
This report is the first part of a sustained effort through 2014 by the Pew Research Center to mark the 25th anniversary of the creation of the World Wide Web by Sir Tim Berners-Lee. Lee wrote a paper on March 12, 1989 proposing an “information management” system that became the conceptual and architectural structure for the Web. He eventually released the code for his system—for free—to the world on Christmas Day in 1990. It became a milestone in easing the way for ordinary people to access documents and interact over a network of computers called the internet—a system that linked computers and that had been around for years. The Web became especially appealing after Web browsers were perfected in the early 1990s to facilitate graphical displays of pages on those linked computers.
It thus became a major layer of the internet. Indeed, for many, it became synonymous with the internet, even though that is not technically the case. The internet is rules (protocols) that enable computer networks to communicate with each other. The Web is a service that uses the network to allow computers to access files and pages that are hosted on other computers. Other applications that are different from the Web also exploit the internet’s architecture to facilitate such things as email, some kinds of instant messaging, and peer-to-peer activities like internet phone calling through services like Skype or file sharing through torrent services.
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January 26, 2014
As featured on Latin Post
By: Michael Oleaga
Hispanics’ presence on social media surpassed the average non-Hispanic average and brands are set to take advantage such as Facebook.
According to a Pew Research Center study, 80 percent of Hispanic adults in the United States (U.S.) use social media, which is 10 percentage points higher than the non-Hispanic Whites and African Americans’ 70 percent and 75 percent, respectively. The aforementioned percentages are a substantial growth compared to February 2005’s report that only 8 percent of U.S. adults used social media.
Latino Internet users admitted to using Facebook or other similar websites such as Twitter by more than two-thirds, or 68 percent. The Pew Hispanic Center’s survey showed 58 percent of all U.S. Internet users use Facebook, Twitter, or another social networking website.
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