The National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators’ (NHCSL) Broadband En Accion taskforce released its first whitepaper, ‘Expanding Opportunities in the Hispanic Community: Solutions for Increased Broadband Access‘ in a press conference at the National Press Club. The legislators then discussed the product, which lays out a policy framework and recommendations for realizing full digital inclusion for Latino communities.

Senator Juan M. Pichardo (D-RI), chair of NHCSL’s Broadband En Accion initiative, was joined by Representative Joseph E. Miro (DE), Co-Chair, and taskforce members to lead the conference. NHCSL Broadband En Accion members include, Representative Geraldo Alicea (MA), Senator Eduardo Bhatia (PR), Representative Mara Candelaria-Reardon (IN), Representative Nora Espinoza (NM), Representative Minnie Gonzalez (CT).

“Broadband is an equalizer and an economic engine in which we must ensure Latino communities fully participate. Our paper is a call to action for all communities and governments at every level to refocus on the issues of full digital inclusion through investment in digital literacy and creative, visionary programs that will truly connect every community to digital opportunities,” said Senator Iris Y. Martinez (IL), NHCSL President.

“By releasing this white paper, we as legislators, are taking steps to ensure the National Broadband Plan remains a priority within the Federal Communications Commission and Congress,” said Senator Juan M. Pichardo. “It is important that we refocus our efforts on the main purpose of achieving full digital inclusion, especially among Hispanics, who under-adopt broadband technology in comparison to the rest of America. Digital technology and skills can greatly benefit the economic development of all underserved communities,” added Pichardo.

In addition to policy recommendations, the paper discusses several areas including the emerging importance of broadband in addressing health disparities among Latinos and the opportunities presented to achieve energy efficiency through expansion of SmartGrid technology. Also discussed is the increased use of mobile broadband, which Spanish-speaking Hispanics are increasingly gaining access to. The paper points out that efforts should continue integrating home broadband adoption to allow for full adoption in Latino communities.

NHCSL members regularly convene to discuss policy issues of importance to the Latino community. The Broadband En Accion taskforce was created with the purpose of bringing broadband policy to the forefront of the Latino legislative agenda.