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.
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.