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Strong wireless capability is critical to the Hispanic community

CC/Flickr/Gary Lerude
Hispanics tend to be more geographically mobile than the overall U.S. population, and they rely more heavily on wireless services generally.

America’s Latinos are among the most active users of mobile communications among all demographic groups in the United States, according to the report, “Hispanic Broadband Access: Making the Most of the Mobile, Connected Future” [PDF]. In fact, the report by the Hispanic Institute and Mobile Future revealed that 50.5 million Hispanics living in the U.S. today are increasingly turning primarily to mobile broadband, rather than using wired connections as their main avenue to the Internet.  

Val Vargas
Val Vargas

As president of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Minnesota, I am pleased that technology has become a powerful tool to empower the economic, educational, and civic advancement of Latinos. 

Hispanics tend to be more geographically mobile than the overall U.S. population, and they rely more heavily on wireless services generally. Today, 90 percent of Hispanics ages 18-29 own cell phones; 70 percent have laptops, more than 51 percent have smartphones, and almost 20 percent have tablets.  

Wireless networks are strained

This high rate of technology use by Hispanics is leading to high rates of mobile usage for promoting education, health care, access to financial services and civic engagement. With nearly two thirds of Latinos using wireless devices to access the Internet, mobile broadband is also vital for Hispanics to participate in public policy and civic engagement.

Today, there are more wireless subscribers than people in the United States,  and the expanding use of mobile technology is straining wireless networks, and the spectrum they rely on. What does this mean for wireless users? Timed out apps, dropped calls and more quality time with the loading bar on our devices. And the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) anticipates that mobile spectrum demand could surpass supply as early as 2013.

It is essential that federal lawmakers and administrative agencies maintain policy frameworks that encourage continued investment and innovation for improving and expanding wireless communications networks to keep up with demand so that all Americans can start and build businesses, access educational opportunities and fully participate in the American Dream.

Val Vargas is president of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Minnesota.  The HCCM is a member of Mobile Future, the organization that co-authored the report.

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 10/18/2012 - 10:40 am.

    True for more than just Hispanics

    While less “essential,” wireless communications, particularly data/internet, is becoming more and more desired and useful for a large part of the overall population, particularly the younger generation. However, as a result in slowed innovation and increased demand, more and more use has resulted in wireless plans that charge by the volume of data you use. It’s expected that all major wireless providers will begin charging by volume–which makes sense if you’ve got high demand for limited product. However, it’s a huge step backwards for communications accessibility. Especially since many younger people have abandoned land line telecommunications altogether in order to simplify and reduce cost. The most unfortunate thing is that those who rely on the wireless data the most (young people, and apparently, Hispanics) are the least likely to afford it, as a group, in the long term. The answer is going to have to be in encouraging innovation, which we’ve failed to do as a nation in recent years. Sometimes a little money spent up front on moving forward costs less in the long run. Unfortunately, the drive toward a more ignorant and less educated population, and tearing down of regulations which force healthy economic competition, has resulted in an outdated infrastructure (not just wireless) and a dearth of those capable (intellectually or monetarily) of making a positive change.

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