The Way Forward on Broadband by Javier Palomarez

By Javier Palomarez

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee held an important hearing this week about America’s transition from outdated communications networks to an all-broadband infrastructure. While the country as a whole will benefit from these much needed upgrades, the transition will have an especially strong impact on Hispanic communities.

“Retire old infrastructure to build the new infrastructure,” declared AT&T’s Jim Cicconi at the hearing as he discussed to the need for updating FCC regulations to support this transition. The FCC needs to update regulations in order for all Americans to have access to the high-speed broadband networks that they want, and need. By revising current regulations to allow for the complete modernization of our nation’s communications networks, it will lead to a new wave of investment and competition. This investment will greatly enhance and stimulate growth of small businesses, job creation, and economic development in Hispanic communities and throughout the country.

It is clear that the FCC needs to act quickly to move this transition forward. But the question is how?
A smart next step is to implement “IP field trials” in a few local markets to create a real world test of the transition. As proposed by AT&T in a petition to the FCC late last year, these trials will allow companies to identify any challenges and fix any issues that may arise during the transition in order to provide the best possible services to consumers. The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) signed onto a filing with several other Hispanic organizations earlier this year soundly endorsing these proposed trials, due mainly to the realization and recognition of the benefits an IP-based network brings to Hispanic communities. Our communities will have more opportunities to pursue higher education, grow their businesses, gain access to more healthcare options, and remain connected to family and friends around the world.

The transition to an all-broadband infrastructure is an important step for our country to take. AT&T has provided a sound proposal for identifying the necessary policies to reach the IP-network finish line and to ensure that the best pro-consumer rules are in place going forward. It’s time for the FCC to move toward a transition that will allow Hispanics, and all consumers, to enjoy the benefits of a high-speed broadband network.

Javier Palomarez is the President & CEO of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

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