A significant number of the AAPI community has embraced digital technologies as a means of achieving personal and professional success. In fact, broadband adoption by Asian Americans is higher than the national average: 80 percent of English-proficient Asian Americans use high-speed broadband at home, compared with the national average of 60 percent. While the digital revolution has worked to the advantage of many, some Asian Pacific Americans continue to struggle to gain access to high-speed broadband and the benefits it brings.
Broadband and broadband-enabled technologies offer new possibilities for our AAPI communities and, indeed, for all Americans. Thanks to fast networks and advanced wireless devices, we can connect with the people who matter most, engage with our communities, and access important information, all while on the go. Broadband access offers social opportunities, chances for civic engagement, and new possibilities for professionals, business owners, and aspiring entrepreneurs.
Access to high-speed broadband provides a portal to life-enhancing opportunities. Students of all ages can benefit from distance learning and educational enrichment opportunities. Across the country, broadband access is already an essential educational tool, allowing students in rural and small school districts to access the same opportunities as their urban and suburban peers. Broadband access provides greater access to higher education, particularly for working adults and rural residents, who can attend classes on their own schedule. Adults and workers can also take advantage of specialized courses and job training available online.
In addition, many diseases and chronic conditions affect our AAPI communities at disproportionate rates, including diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), obesity, and Hepatitis B. Broadband-enabled technologies and devices offer new opportunities for convenient, effective treatment. For example, remote monitoring devices can collect and transmit health data, such as blood glucose or respiratory rates, directly to medical personnel. Expanded access to broadband can accelerate further developments in telemedicine and mHealth as well as facilitate improved access to health care and information.
Access to these opportunities, therefore, promotes economic stability, better health, and improved quality of life for all people. And in particular, expanded access to high-speed broadband offers a variety of possible solutions to the challenges facing the AAPI communities. Bringing these possibilities and new innovations to more people will require an upgraded and expanded network infrastructure. Modern, lightning-fast networks will bring us the services, speeds, and capabilities of tomorrow. Currently, AT&T has a petition before the FCC proposing trials of the deployment of the next generation of high-speed broadband networks to determine what in practice works and what doesn’t. Such tests would show how to maximize benefits, limit disruption, and provide a path for consumers to the benefits of modernized networks.
Advancing broadband technologies present possible solutions to the challenges facing our AAPI communities. For many in our AAPI community, modern technologies present hope for future successes and reduced barriers. And for all Americans, upgraded communications networks deliver new options, new innovations, and exciting possibilities.