Today, The Hispanic Institute and Mobile Future published a report revealing that Hispanics are increasingly turning to mobile devices — not traditional wired broadband — as their primary means of accessing the Internet. The study was released at the National Council of La Raza’s annual conference in Las Vegas.
“Mobile broadband is essential for the economic advancement of Hispanics,” said Gus West, Board Chair of The Hispanic Institute. “In today’s information age, the Hispanic community relies on mobile devices to stay connected for so many aspects of their lives — to do everything from interacting with public officials to paying bills to taking their prescriptions thanks to text-message reminders.”
The report — “Hispanic Broadband Access: Making the Most of the Mobile, Connected Future” — details how Hispanics have embraced mobile technology. They’re 17 percent more likely than non-Hispanic whites to use mobile phones to access the Internet — and 20 percent more likely to watch video on them. The economic implications are huge, as young Hispanics have spent more than $500 million on mobile apps this year alone.
The report concludes that policymakers must consider Hispanics’ reliance on mobile devices as they implement a national broadband policy. Making more wireless spectrum available, ending regressive taxes on broadband users, and continuing to support the Lifeline/Link-Up programs — which offer discounts to qualified, low-income wireless customers — are all key to this effort.
“Mobile broadband is connecting the Hispanic community in never-before-seen ways, resulting in greater economic, civic, and political opportunities for Latinos,” said Jonathan Spalter, Chairman of Mobile Future. “But this trend could grind to a halt if policymakers don’t increase the amount of spectrum supporting wireless networks and maintain policies that continue to support investment and innovation in mobile technologies and services.”
The Federal Communications Commission predicts that demand for mobile spectrum could surpass supply next year, resulting in unreliable service and higher connectivity costs.
“Hispanics will account for 30 percent of the U.S. population by 2050. It’s in America’s interest that they have the tools to succeed in the information economy. Mobile broadband provides them with those tools — so that they too can achieve the American Dream,” concluded West.