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Study Finds Broadband Access Key to Empowerment of Minority Communities
Date:3/11/2008

Local Council Formed to Study Impact on Detroit Area

DETROIT, March 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, The Alliance for Digital Equality announced findings from its new study, Affordable Broadband: Empowering Communities Across the Digital Divide, which examines how broadband has expanded access to education, health care and civic involvement in minority communities. Additionally, The Alliance formally introduced the Detroit Digital Empowerment Council (DEC) that was launched earlier this year to examine the impact of broadband on the local community. The Detroit DEC is part of The Alliance's nationwide initiative that advocates for increased broadband access -- especially in urban and underserved communities. Previously, The Alliance has launched Councils in Charleston, South Carolina and Houston, Texas.

"For those individuals with access to broadband and other cutting-edge technologies, unprecedented opportunity is available," said Julius H. Hollis, chairman of The Alliance for Digital Equality. "It is the goal of The Alliance to become the voice of underserved communities and to ensure that broadband remains affordable so that the newest online users have continued access and that the last ones on aren't the first ones off."

"Broadband affords Americans opportunities to benefit from new technologies and progress in areas such as education and healthcare," said Dr. Earlexia Norwood of Henry Ford Health Systems and the Detroit DEC Chairperson. "Access to new technologies can open the door to life-saving solutions and fundamentally change the way we deliver health care." The Detroit Digital Empowerment Council will be one of many nationwide efforts by The Alliance to bring together community leaders who can provide keen insight and direction to improve digital empowerment opportunities for all citizens.

Broadband internet access helps create wealth and opportunity for communities that are wired. The study found that while there remains a substantial gap in broadband usage between the wealthiest Americans and the poorest, a drop in monthly rates has allowed for a greater number of minorities to join the broadband revolution. Among households with annual incomes of less than $30,000 per year, the number of high-speed internet connections has doubled from 15 percent to 30 percent in the past two years.

"As the cost of broadband access has declined, the percentage of Americans signing up for broadband has increased," said study author Dr. Jabari Simama. "We must work to ensure that broadband remains affordable if we want to see this trend continue."

As part of its mission of "empowering communities across the digital divide," The Alliance will bring together elected officials, consumers and the business community to educate minority communities about the importance, as well as, benefits of broadband usage. This national effort will continue in cities across the country to ensure that all Americans -- regardless of their race, ethnicity or income -- are empowered to join the digital revolution.

About The Alliance for Digital Equality-Founded in 2007, The Alliance for Digital Equality is a non-profit consumer advocacy organization that serves to facilitate and ensure equal access to technology in underserved communities. The Alliance also serves as a bridge between policymakers and minority individuals in order to help the public understand how legislative and regulatory policies regarding new technologies can impact and empower their daily lives. For more information on The Alliance for Digital Equality, please visit http://www.alliancefordigitalequality.org .


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SOURCE The Alliance for Digital Equality
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