LULAC Urges FCC to Focus USF on Closing the Digital Divide

October 27, 2011

Contact: Paloma Zuleta, pzuleta@lulac.org, (202) 812-4477

Proposed Connect America Fund Should Prioritize Broadband Access & Adoption

Washington, DC –The League of United Latin American Citizens, the largest and oldest Latino membership organization in the United States, filed comments with the Federal Communications Commission urging the agency to reform and rebalance the Universal Service Fund so that it is focused on closing the digital divide. The comments are available by clicking here.

“Currently the USF’s High Cost Fund wastes far too much money on subsidizing rural telephone companies using outdated formulas that are no longer relevant in today’s digital economy,” stated LULAC National President Margaret Moran. “That is why we are endorsing FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski’s proposal to reform the USF and create the Connect America Fund focused on ensuring every American has access to broadband internet.”

The Digital Divide for Hispanic families is particularly severe. Only 45% of Latinos have broadband internet access in their home compared to 65% of non-Hispanic Whites. However the greatest digital divide is with Spanish-dominant Latinos—only 26% have broadband internet access in their home.

“Home broadband internet access is essential for Latinos to succeed in school and to compete in today’s workforce,” stated LULAC National Executive Director Brent Wilkes. “We urge the FCC to redirect the savings from USF reform to expand and revamp programs like Lifeline and Linkup in order to increase broadband adoption rates in communities where the digital divide is most severe.”

LULAC’s network of 56 community technology centers is the largest network of minority technology centers in the United States and serves over 150,000 people each year (www.lulac.org/ctc). The centers provide many Latinos with their only broadband internet connection helping them learn to use computers and the internet to improve their quality of life and increase opportunities for their families.

The League of United Latin American Citizens: the largest and oldest Hispanic membership organization in the country, advances the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, housing, health and civil rights of Hispanic Americans through community-based programs operating through 900 LULAC councils nationwide.

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