The Hispanic Institute thehispanicinstitute.org is a non-profit dedicated to creating a more informed and empowered Hispanic America. THI regularly releases white papers and manages a series of projects covering Hispanic consumer protection, Hispanic economic contributions and planning, Hispanic media coverage, citizenship education and technology and telecommunications research, among others.
The ASPIRA Association, Inc. www.aspira.org ASPIRA is the only national nonprofit organization devoted solely to the education and leadership development of Puerto Rican and other Latino youth. ASPIRA’s Community Technology Centers are designed to develop a replicable model to demonstrate the effectiveness of access to technology and the Internet by economic disadvantaged, mostly Latino inner-city children, youth and adults.
Benton Foundation www.benton.org The Benton Foundation offers numerous resources for those looking to learn more about technology policy issues. Current priorities include: promoting a vision and policy alternatives for the digital age in which the benefit to the public is paramount; raising awareness among funders and nonprofits on their stake in critical policy issues; enabling communities and nonprofits to produce diverse and locally responsive media content. Resources include a free news service available by email or RSS and a telecommunications legislation tracker.
Minority Media Telecommunications Council www.mmtconline.org The Minority Media and Telecommunications Council works to promote and preserve equal opportunity and civil rights in the mass media and telecommunications industries. MMTC strongly believes that changes in communications technology and the new global forms of media partnerships must enhance diversity in the 21st century. MMTC is nonpartisan nonprofit organization.
National Hispanic Media Coalition www.nhmc.org NHMC is a non-profit organization whose mission is to 1) improve the image of American Latinos as portrayed by the media; 2) increase the number of American Latinos employed in all facets of the media industry; and 3) advocate for media and telecommunications policies that benefit the Latino community.
Pew Internet & American Life Project www.pewinternet.org An excellent resource for information about Hispanic use of technology, the Pew Internet & American Life Project conducts and publishes research about the Internet and its societal effects on families, communities, and work environments. The website provides research reports; links containing information on the Internet and society; and research by the Pew Internet & American Life Project or other organizations.
Hispanic / Latino Internet Use and Demographics
U.S. Census Data on Minorities in the United States (released May 2007) The nation’s minority population reached 100.7 million, according to the national and state estimates by race, Hispanic origin, sex and age just released by the U.S. Census Bureau. This release contains a summary of findings and links to tables and charts provides the most current figures on minorities in the United States.
Latinos Online: Hispanics with lower levels of education and English proficiency remain largely disconnected from the Internet
Download a PDF version of the report
This March 2007 report issued by the Pew Internet and American Life Project shows that “Latinos comprise 14% of the U.S. adult population and about half of this growing group (56%) goes online. By comparison, 71% of non-Hispanic whites and 60% of non-Hispanic blacks use the internet.”
Key Legislation and Legislative Tracking
The Telecommunications Act of 1996
The Telecommunications Act of 1996 is the first major overhaul of telecommunications law since the 1930s. It was an effort by Congress to reform the legislation to address the dramatic changes in technology that taken place in the previous 60 years. By deregulating the telecommunications industry, Congress hoped to increase market competition and spur the deployment of advanced telecommunications and information technologies.
One of its major impacts was that it allowed local telephone companies and the Baby Bells – created by the break-up of ATT in 1984 – to engage in direct competition in the provision of services such as long-distance telephony. Telecommunications has evolved in previously unimaginable ways since the 1996 law was enacted. The need for more comprehensive telecommunications reform that addresses current market realities remains an important issue among legislators, regulators, the business community and advocacy groups.
Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992
Download the full text of the Act
As a result of the 1984 Cable Act (see below), more Americans subscribed to cable television than ever before and cable systems began to expand their programming. However the increasingly high costs of cable service caused Congress to enact the Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992. This Act contains provisions to encourage further development of capacity and programming, prevent cable operators from having excess power in the market and protect consumer interests.
Cable Communications Act of 1984 http://www.publicaccess.org/cableact.html
The 1984 Cable Act established policies in the areas of ownership, channel usage, franchise provisions and renewals, subscriber rates and privacy, obscenity and lockboxes, unauthorized reception of services, equal employment opportunity, and pole attachments. The new law also defined jurisdictional boundaries among federal, state and local authorities for regulating cable television systems.
The Cable Communications Act was intended to:
- establish a national policy concerning cable communications;
- establish franchise procedures and standards which encourage the growth and development of cable systems and which assure that cable systems are responsive to the needs and interests of the local community;
- establish guidelines for the exercise of Federal, State, and local authority with respect to the regulation of cable systems;
- assure that cable communications provide and are encouraged to provide the widest possible diversity of information sources and services to the public;
- establish an orderly process for franchise renewal which protects cable operators against unfair denials of renewal where the operator’s past performance and proposal for future performance meet the standards established by this title; and
- promote competition in cable communications and minimize unnecessary regulation that would impose an undue economic burden on cable systems.*
*Excepted from the full text of the Act available in HTML format at http://www.publicaccess.org/cableact.html
GovTrack is a free, independent, non-partisan, non-commercial website that automatically tracks legislative events and categorizes them by keyword so that users can subscribe to follow just the events that interest them. Events, like the passage of bills, are sent to users on a daily or weekly basis by email, or through RSS/Atom feeds.
GovTrack believes information about the government should be free and open. All of the raw data that GovTrack collects and organizes is made available for others to reuse to create other projects; that is, to make the same information as useful and accessible as possible.
A legislative tracking service specifically focused on technology and telecommunications is available through the Benton Foundation.
Federal Communications Commission
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an independent United States government agency, directly responsible to Congress. The FCC was established by the Communications Act of 1934 and is charged with regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable.