Tuesday, February 26, 2008

USA - broadband in minority communities

Study Finds Broadband Access Key to Empowerment of Minority Communities
See also Alliance for Digital Equality

/PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Today, the Alliance for Digital Equality announced findings from its new study, Affordable Broadband: Empowering Communities Across the Digital Divide, which examines how broadband has expanded access to education, health care and civic involvement in minority communities. Additionally, the Alliance launched the Houston Digital Empowerment Council (DEC) to study the impact of broadband on the local community. The Houston DEC is part of the Alliance's nationwide initiative that advocates for increased broadband access especially in urban and underserved communities.

"The so-called digital revolution is completely transforming the nation's economic, social, political and cultural landscapes," said Julius Hollis, chairman of the Alliance for Digital Equality. "It is the goal of the Alliance to become the voice of underserved communities and to ensure that broadband remains affordable so that the newest online users have continued access and that the last ones on aren't the first ones off."

"With broadband connections, children, students and businesses in our local communities will be better equipped to meet the demands of rapidly changing environments and capitalize on new opportunities," said Willard Jackson, MetroplexCore CEO and local DEC chair. "The Houston Digital Empowerment Council will bring together an expert group of community leaders dedicated to working for digital empowerment for all citizens."

Broadband internet access helps create wealth and opportunity for communities that are wired. The study found that while there remains a substantial gap in broadband use of the wealthiest Americans and the poorest, a drop in price has allowed for a greater number of minorities to join the broadband revolution. Among households with annual incomes of less that $30,000 per year, the number of high-speed internet connections has doubled from 15 percent to 30 percent in the past two years.

"As the cost of broadband access has declined, the percentage of Americans signing up for broadband has increased," said study author Dr. Jabari Simama. "We must work to ensure that broadband remains affordable if we want to see this trend continue."

As part of its mission of "empowering communities across the digital divide," in 2008, The Alliance will bring together elected officials, consumers and the business community to educate minority communities about the importance, as well as benefits of broadband usage across the United States for all people regardless of their race, ethnicity or income.

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