Empowering Hispanic Communities With Connectivity

Toni Morales Broberg
September 30, 2021
Broadband Access and Affordability


Empowering Hispanic Communities With Connectivity

Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to celebrate and honor the countless ways Hispanics and Latinos have enriched our country, our businesses, and our communities. And, it is a time to celebrate our significance:

  • Over the last decade, the Hispanic or Latino population grew 23% and accounted for half the country’s growth.[1]
  • Nearly 80% of all net new businesses formed during the last decade were created by U.S. Latinos.[2]
  • In the U.S., there are more than 5 million Latino-owned businesses.[3]

One of the core values that contributes to the success of our community, and one of the recurring themes in my Hispanic family, is that we are stronger together. In my family this plays out with my three sisters. They are my foundation and inspiration, my cheerleaders, my shoulders to cry on, and my best friends. They push me to be a better leader, at work and in the community, and also keep me grounded. And since becoming a new mom last year, I now understand better than ever the phrase “it takes a village.”

This last year and a half made me even more aware that not all Hispanics have a village and the support system they need. As our community worked to adjust to life during a global pandemic, we were presented with huge obstacles, especially related to connectivity.

Between March 2020 to March 2021, Latinas saw the biggest drop in the labor force of any demographic group.[4]  For those who didn’t lose their jobs, but were expected to shift to working from home, there were additional challenges. In one survey, 25% of Hispanics said they only use the internet via a smartphone.[5] By comparison, only 15% of U.S. adults fall into this category.[6]

Hispanic and Latino parents also had the added stress of getting their kids access to education. In an online survey of more than 60,000 secondary and 22,000 upper elementary students, 30% of Hispanic or Latino respondents cited a lack of reliable internet access as an obstacle to distance learning, compared to 23% of their surveyed classmates.[7]

But by working together, providers of connectivity, policymakers, community groups and non-profits have an unprecedented opportunity to help bridge the digital divide with forward-looking public policy, technology innovations and investments that empower Hispanic communities.

I am very proud of what AT&T is doing to help through a $2 billion commitment over the next 3 years. As part of these nationwide efforts, we just launched our first of more than 20 Connected Learning Centers. It has been, and will continue to be, AT&T’s priority to help connect our communities, which means so much to me as an AT&T employee and as a Hispanic.

I am going to spend this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month honoring our culture and diversity, but also celebrating a brighter future for all of us.

[1] U.S. Census
[2] https://lattitude.net/lattitude-fact-book/ 
[3] https://lattitude.net/lattitude-fact-book/
[4] https://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/latinas-dropping-out-of-workforce-pandemic
[5] Pew Research Center- Home broadband adoption, computer ownership vary by race, ethnicity in the U.S.
[6] Pew Research Center – Mobile Technology and Home Broadband 2021
[7] http://youthtruthsurvey.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/YouthTruth-Students-Weigh-In-Part-II-Learning-and-
Well-Being-During-COVID-19.pdf.