Broadband Critical to Economic Growth in America

The recession has hit Americans hard over the past year. With unemployment hovering around 10 percent, and higher for Hispanics and African Americans, much still needs to be done to revitalize the economy and bridge the employment gap.

In an article for The Hill, former FCC Commissioner Henry M. Rivera identifies several ways broadband Internet can help to tackle these disparities. It will also give a boost to the American economy by expanding sources of investment, creating new jobs, and spurring technological innovation.

In his argument for the expansion of broadband, Rivera makes clear the paramount significance of broadband access to a new generation of Americans:

"A generation ago, communications technology was essential to all Americans, but their livelihoods generally were not tied to such technology. The opposite is the case today. We increasingly rely on the Internet for such things as work and education and as an avenue for civic and political engagement."

With unemployment for Hispanics and African Americans at 12 and 16 percent respectively, universal broadband access would help give all Americans an equal footing financially, academically, and in the job market. Bridging the digital divide by bringing broadband access to disenfranchised populations is a central goal of the National Broadband Plan. Not only is it the right thing to do — it makes economic sense.

The economic impact of the National Broadband Plan would be nation-wide, bringing new communication and economic opportunities to underserved rural and urban populations currently on the other side of the digital divide.

Broadband: A must for America's economic recovery (The Hill)