No Broadband, No jobs

NEW REPORT Links Economic Hardship in Mississippi to Poor Internet Service

February 10, 2010 Jackson, Ms. New York, NY.— A new report by the Center for Social Inclusion (CSI) and MS NAACP shows how communities of color in Mississippi lack high speed internet access, like broadband. The Broadband in the Mississippi Delta report analyzes broadband availability and economic opportunity in Mississippi and the impact it has on communities of color. With far too little Internet access in communities of color, hundreds of thousands are effectively prevented from contributing to the economy.

“Closing the Internet divide will create more jobs. By simply committing to bring greater broadband service to where it’s needed most, we can open up communities across Mississippi to a more promising economic future,” said Brittny Saunders, Senior Advocate of the Center for Social Inclusion. CSI issued the report with MS NAACP as part of CSI’s larger initiative to monitor how federal dollars for broadband investment are allocated and implemented.

Findings within Broadband in the Mississippi Delta show that:

In areas with zero access to high speed Internet, communities of color are the majority.

Jobs and Internet access go hand in hand. Zip codes with eight or more Internet providers average 13,212 jobs. But in places with less than four Internet providers the number of jobs falls dramatically to 646, a 95% drop.

Of 124 applications to federal programs for expanding broadband access in Mississippi, not one has been funded. 87 were rejected and 37 are still awaiting a decision.

“Broadband access is essential for the Mississippi Delta to thrive in a 21st century economy. Resources must be directed to ensure that poorly-connected communities in Mississippi, which are often communities of color, have quality access,” said Derrick Johnson, State President, Mississippi NAACP.

New federal resources under the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program will be available this year. In addition, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) is in the process of developing a national broadband plan. Under the Recovery Act, this plan must guarantee all Americans access to broadband capability.

Broadband in the Mississippi Delta Report Recommendations:

Prioritize affordability of high speed Internet.

Meet the goals of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act by building broadband infrastructure in communities hit hardest by the recession.

Improve transparency regarding broadband availability and ARRA grant decisions.

The Center for Social Inclusion works to unite public policy research and grassroots advocacy to transform structural inequality and exclusion into structural fairness and inclusion. We work with community groups and national organizations to develop policy ideas, foster effective leadership, and develop communications tools for an opportunity-rich world in which we all will thrive.

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its adult and youth members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.

Center for Social Inclusion
Press Contact for this report:
Mahdis Keshavarz
65 Broadway, Suite 1800
New York, NY 10006
(425) 591 8781

Mississippi State Conference NAACP
Press contact: Derrick Johnson, State President
West J.R. Lynch Street
Jackson, MS 39203
(601) 353-6906


To view report: Broadband in the Mississippi Delta

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