Later this week, I will be attending and speaking at “Hispanicize 2013” in Miami Beach, an annual gathering of those seeking to reach the Hispanic community with new products, ideas and innovative technologies. These are exciting times as new technologies and services benefiting consumers reach the marketplace. Today, “creator” types are increasingly working together with the “technology” types to innovate. These two worlds continue to converge as broadband changes how we view and use entertainment and how that entertainment actually reaches us. This was the dream of 9 concerned tech professionals had when we founded LISTA over 15 years ago.
It will come as no surprise to anyone who uses a smartphone or a tablet that these devices are constantly enhancing the way we connect socially, enjoy entertainment, and engage civically. Last month the Washington Post reported that in 2012, for the first time, consumers spent more on mobile data than on voice services — $94.8 billion vs. $92.4 billion. This increase in data usage is a result of how consumers are demanding more bandwidth for faster and more robust access to video, messaging and chat capabilities. This statistic is just one of many showing that consumers are rapidly embracing high speed broadband technologies and quickly migrating away from voice-centric “plain old telephone service.”
In Florida, for example, only 19% of households get telephone service from an incumbent provider – one of the lowest rates in the nation. These households have chosen new broadband-based voice service or wireless service rather than plain old telephone service.
Innovation and creativity aren’t just about the latest music, the trendy new movie or the next fashionable consumer trend; innovation and creativity is about our economy as a whole. As more and more consumers adopt new high-speed broadband technologies, we must ensure that fair public policies are in place that apply the rules equally to all providers. This will encourage investment in the new broadband services and infrastructure that can speed substantial benefits in healthcare, education, social media and civic engagement throughout the nation.
A modern high-speed national broadband infrastructure is key to job creation and to our economic growth, both for the nation as a whole and for the Hispanic community in particular. Carriers’ transition to these new high-speed broadband networks is expected to add 770,000 jobs in the next few years alone.
We must ensure that Hispanics benefit from these technologies by enhancing broadband literacy for the jobs of the future. I look forward to being a voice for the Hispanic community in Miami this weekend and will encourage network operators, innovators, entrepreneurs, and app developers to focus on broadband services and devices that benefit the Hispanic community.