In preparation of an article for Politic365.com, yesterday I had the most insightful conversation with the co-founder and president of the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council David Honig. Entry into the media marketplace by members of the minority community is a top priority of the MMTC. For this reason, the MMTC is hosting tomorrow a forum on the spectrum crunch and how this crisis in the airwaves will impact minority communities.
We are hitting a wall on spectrum, Mr. Honig said to me and it’s going to have an impact on minority consumers and entrepreneurs. For consumers we’ll probably see degradation in services, particularly more dropped calls. As spectrum, like any resource, becomes scarcer, we’ll probably see higher prices. One can argue that all consumers, no matter their race, will see price increases, but for minorities there may be a greater negative incidence from an increase in cell phone rates.
For example, Black unemployment is around 13.8%, much higher than the national average of 8.3%. According to the Pew Research Council, White median household wealth is around $113,149 compared to Black household wealth of $5,677. The average income for Black households is $44,780 compared with White households who have an average income of $73,439.
Hispanics households, while having average household income of $51,540, have a household wealth of $6,325, according to Pew Research. The unemployment rate for Hispanics is also above the national average at 10.5%.
For minority entrepreneurs attempting to mitigate the damage of the last recession via self employment, entering the broadband, telecommunications or media markets with little equity or capital makes success even harder. Facing increasing spectrum’s increasing factor cost of production only adds to the burden.
Given MMTC’s knowledge and expertise with broadband and spectrum issues, the forum should provide attendees with great and useful policy insights.