Poor and Minorities to Benefit from Broadband and Telehealth Advances
In a forceful op-ed in Monday's Baltimore Sun, former U.S. Congressman and NAACP President Kweisi Mfume spoke out on the particular need of poor and minorities for expanded broadband. And the way toward that goal, Mfume wrote, is "greater adoption of wireless broadband technology by consumers," and maximizing "the increasingly constrained wireless spectrum."
Moreover, said Mfume:
"In both of these areas, the proposed purchase of T-Mobile by AT&T would take us a giant step forward by making possible the far more efficient use of spectrum in large, majority-minority cities such as Baltimore, where spectrum exhaustion could make telehealth applications impractical."
Mfume, now president of the Mfume Group, is particularly concerned with the expansion of telehealth services for those in the U.S. with the fewest resources. As he noted, "...49 percent of Americans have at least one chronic disease and that for many diseases the impact increasingly falls along racial and ethnic lines." For instance, he wrote, "Approximately 14.7 percent of African-American adults have diabetes, with many of these cases undiagnosed."
He asks us to consider "the potential of telemedicine to serve as a lifeline to the African-American community." In short, he writes:
"Tele-health will drastically expand access to the highest quality of health care to those who need it most, ultimately eliminating many of the health disparities that result in higher rates of chronic illness, needless suffering and shorter life spans for people of color."
Speed Matters believes that the broadband revolution, and telehealth, should be configured so that everyone in America stands to obtain the benefits of this new technology. This means building robust wireless and wired networks to all communities, including municipal Baltimore — where Verizon has yet to extend its fiber-to-the-home technology — and to other cities where Verizon has not yet built its FiOS network.
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