Home » Digital Divide » Latino Innovation and the President’s State of the Union

Tuesday’s State of the Union address, and the policies it outlined were encouraging for many reasons — , most especially those that reaffirm a commitment to ensuring the dreams of all our communities are given the chance to be fulfilled.

While the President touched on a number of important goals for America, lets like to take a moment to highlight his comments to technology and innovation. , HTTP members have long held that, while technological advancements are important in their own right, achieving key milestones in broadband adoption, wireless connectivity and technological innovation are imperative to facilitating progress toward our nation’s larger economic and social policy goals.

Technology, particularly broadband technology, is a platform for participation that enables communities and leaders throughout our country, and across borders, throughout the world, to work together on solutions to challenges in healthcare, education, civic engagement and economic opportunity.  From telemedicine and remote health monitoring to distance learning and online classes, to worker retraining and online employment resources, broadband technology connects individuals and communities to valuable resources.

And, while many in our nation have been able to access the numerous life-changing benefits that broadband provides, there are still countless others that remain unconnected to this critical technology. According to research done by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, currently only 64 percent of Hispanic Americans (both English- and Spanish-speaking) use the Internet.  Of that 64 percent, only 47 percent have home broadband access.  However, it is important to also note that Hispanic Americans are leading their peers in the usage of mobile broadband. In fact, 62 percent of Hispanic Americans (both English- and Spanish-speaking) are using mobile devices to connect to the Internet wirelessly.

As President Obama touched on during his State of the Union address,

“…this isn’t about faster Internet or fewer dropped calls.  It’s about connecting every part of America to the digital age.  It’s about a rural community in Iowa or Alabama where farmers and small business owners will be able to sell their products all over the world.  It’s about a firefighter who can download the design of a burning building onto a handheld device; a student who can take classes with a digital textbook; or a patient who can have face-to-face video chats with her doctor.”

HTTP members will reaffirm support for, and commitment to President Obama, his Administration and our congressional leaders as they work to achieve the ambitious but realistic goal of deploying high-speed wireless coverage to 98 percent of Americans.  HTTP recognizes it will require the dedication and cooperation of both private and public stakeholders as we work to free up more spectrum, increase adoption and digital literacy and continue next-generation network deployment.  We are optimistic about this aspiration and look forward to building upon the long-standing tradition of American exceptionalism in technology and innovation as we rise to meet these challenges and capture these opportunities in the coming year and years to come.