Thursday, October 1, 2020

Guest Blogger Series: Jorge Bauermeister “Telecom, Wireless, and Broadband Offer Untapped Economic Potential for the U.S. and Latinos”

The economy of the United States has been at a standstill since 2008.  Job creation has stagnated, and economic performance has businesses worried.  Despite these negatives, the potential for the American economy and workforce remains promising.  Through the power of technology, the economy can recover with positive job creation and strong business growth.

In 2010, the tech, communications, and information sector accounted for 24% of GDP growth.  This was the second leading sector contributing to GDP growth after manufacturing – representing more than the retail trade industry.  Equally as important, technology, communications and information generates innovation which affects performance in all other sectors.

Wireless is an extremely fast growing sector.  Communications in the form of Internet and wireless connects users to a vast array of information and other outlets for innovation.  Since 2005, the communications industry has delivered double digit growth numbers.  Therefore, the market potential within just the technology and wireless sectors is extremely large and presents limitless opportunities for individuals and businesses.

The wireless industry employs over 2.4 million people and regularly hires employees of all skill and experience levels.  With positions ranging from programmers and engineers to retail sales professionals, the industry provides opportunities for everyone.  This presents an important opportunity for Latinos and other minorities to have better employment opportunities and a chance to break through in the tech sector.

Unfortunately, for many years, Latinos have had poor representation in the tech sector.  The wireless segment has begun to change this trend.  Wireless companies have strong records of hiring diversity and are among the corporate leaders in training and promoting minority workers.  Outside of direct employment, wireless companies have quickly established and grown opportunities for small and minority business procurement.  At this year’s annual Minority Media and Telecom Council’s (MMTC) conference, panelists representing major communications companies, including AT&T, Verizon and Comcast, echoed the potential for minority workers and entrepreneurs now and in the years to come.

Another high growth segment within the wireless industry is broadband.  Broadband has for years generated opportunities for economic growth and business development.  Current statistics show that for every $10 billion invested, 500,000 U.S. jobs can be supported for one year.  Specific sectors related to broadband, such as health information, show even greater potential.  Both mobile and hardline broadband are still growing at record rates, and they have a positive influence beyond immediate job creation through education and enhanced digital literacy which improves the long term competitive edge of our labor force and businesses.

With the wireless industry producing positive economic effects on job creation and the overall economy, policymakers have a key role.  Promoting universal access to wireless voice, data, and broadband would enhance job growth, innovation, and economic development immediately and in the future.  Additionally, this would ensure that Latinos and minorities have equal access and the ability to capitalize on the growth potential in this sector.  Also, with the growth of the wireless and mobile broadband sectors, policymakers and the Federal Communications Commission must ensure wireless providers have sufficient spectrum available to bring better connectivity to businesses and consumers.  With strong recognition from regulators and policymakers, the telecom and communication sectors will continue to create jobs, economic growth, and provide opportunities for Latinos.

 

Jorge Bauermeister is a former Commissioner of the Puerto Rico Telecommunications Regulatory Board. In 2005, he was appointed as Chairman of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners Consumer Affairs Committee before opening his private law practice in San Juan, PR.  His blog, Latino Internet Justice, focuses on telecommunications and Internet law.

 

Comments

  1. I think that the more connected Latinos are on the web the more empowered they become as a whole. I even hear this more and more all the time from the abuelas and abuelos: “Pues no se…anda ve y checa en el Internet”

    It’s so important now a days to have internet, FAST and RELIABLE internet.

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