PREPARED REMARKS OF FCC CHAIRMAN JULIUS GENACHOWSKI
CONNECT2COMPETE AND U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
AMERICAN JOB CENTERS ANNOUNCEMENT EVENT
JULY 16, 2012
I am here today with Secretary Solis because our separate agencies share a common goal – creating jobs.
At the FCC, my primary focus as Chairman has been promoting innovation, investment, and competition
in the broadband sector to benefit consumers, grow our economy, enhance U.S. competitiveness, and
Over the past 3-plus years, the story of America’s broadband sector is a story of tremendous success.
The U.S. has regained global leadership, particularly in mobile.
The U.S. leads the world in 3G subscribers by a wide margin, and we are leading the world in deploying
4G mobile broadband at scale, with 64% of the world’s LTE subscribers.
The percentage of smartphones globally with U.S. operating systems has grown from 25% to more than
The apps economy continues to grow, and U.S. firms and developers continue to lead the way.
In the last three years, we've gone from less than 20 percent to more than 80% of Americans living in
areas with broadband infrastructure capable of delivering 100+ megabits per second, putting us near the
top of the world.
These numbers add up to meaningful job creation.
One study estimated that wireless has contributed to the creation of 1.6 million U.S. jobs in just the past
The mobile apps economy barely existed in early 2009. Today it alone supports nearly 500,000 jobs.
Deloitte estimates that investments in 4G will create 770,000 new U.S. jobs over the next four years.
For all this good news in the broadband sector, there are still many challenges ahead. We need to
continue to see increases in speed and capacity. For our innovation economy to continue to thrive, we
want to be on a path where we're speaking about gigabits, not megabits. We need to keep working to
close the broadband adoption and deployment gaps. And we need to keep working to tackle the spectrum
The challenge we are focusing on today is that millions of Americans are being bypassed by the job
opportunities of the broadband revolution – threatening to leave those Americans behind, and hurting our
economy and competitiveness.
Roughly 1 in 3 Americans – nearly 100 million – still haven’t adopted broadband at home. And 66
million Americans have no digital literacy skills, meaning that too many people do not know how to
operate a computer or use the Internet.
Why does this matter? Because the costs of digital exclusion are rising.
Offline Americans are missing out on education opportunities, health care opportunities, and, yes, job
In today's world, you need broadband to find a job, apply for a job, and you need digital skills to keep
most of today’s jobs.
Almost all Fortune 500 companies post job openings exclusively online.
And almost all require online job applications – from Wal-Mart and Target, to many small businesses.
Connecting all Americans and teaching them digital skills is critical to reducing unemployment. There is
growing evidence of a “skills mismatch” in America.
Indeed.com is a company that aggregates online data about job listings. According to data they released
last year, there are many large metropolitan areas in which the ratio of job postings to unemployed people
is one to one. That’s one job posting for every person looking for a job.
These jobs aren’t getting filled because too many job seekers don’t have the right skills.
Some of these jobs require engineering or extensive computer software expertise.
But many are so-called middle skills jobs that only require basic digital skills – such as knowing how to
use a computer, search, upload, or process a transaction.
Altogether, over half of today’s jobs require technology skills, and nearly 80% of jobs in the next decade
are projected to require digital skills.
Businesses across the country have a sign out front that says, “Help Wanted.” Millions of Americans who
want to help can’t unless they get online and learn basic digital skills.
This is why today’s joint effort to address the digital divide is so important:
We can’t have millions of Americans on the wrong side of the broadband and digital skills divide.
We’ve made some progress closing our adoption and digital skills gaps. The adoption gap between
whites and African Americans has been nearly cut in half since 2009.
We need to continue closing the broadband adoption gap to make sure that every American can enjoy the
economic and social benefits of high-speed Internet. That’s what Connect2Compete is all about.
Connect2Compete is focused on tackling the obstacles to broadband adoption – primarily cost and digital
On cost, thanks to member companies of the National Cable Television Association and
Connect2Compete, broadband will be available to many of low-income families at $9.95 a month – about
1/3 of what it would otherwise costs. And high quality refurbished laptops will be available for $150
Today we are focusing on digital literacy. Already, libraries across the country, along with companies
like Best Buy have committed to offering free digital skills training as part of Connect2Compete.
Today, as Secretary Solis will soon expand on, we are announcing that the American Job Center Network
is joining the Connect2Compete coalition.
Thousands of American Job Center locations will soon join this coalition of computing centers and digital
literacy providers under the Connect2Compete umbrella.
In addition, all participating Job Centers will promote C2C’s broadband adoption offerings, including the
discounted Internet and refurbished laptops I mentioned.
Today Connect2Compete is also announcing the launch of a nationwide database of digital literacy
providers and a Digital Literacy Training Finder tool.
The Finder tool is a one-stop search tool to find your closest free computer center or digital literacy
training provider. The service will be accessible from the Internet, mobile broadband, or via a toll-free
The database will be populated with thousands of locations comprised of the nation’s libraries, schools,
public computing centers, and non-profit training providers. And, yes, thanks to the Secretary, America’s
Job Centers will be included in the database, too.
Some people may be asking, “How are people without digital skills going to learn about the tool?”
Well, the finder tool will be promoted as part of the Ad Council’s forthcoming national digital literacy ad
campaign on TV, radio and other platforms, which will launch in early 2013 under the Connect2Compete
Thank you again to America’s Job Centers for joining this cause, and to all the partners of the
Connect2Compete coalition. Working together, we can seize the benefits of broadband for all Americans.
With that, it’s my pleasure to welcome Secretary Hilda Solis. Secretary Solis gets that we need to be
preparing U.S. workers for the jobs of the future, and has worked with tremendous energy to do so.
Going back to her time in Congress, she was one of the first proponents of training for “green jobs,” and I
am pleased to be partnering with this strong leader to make sure all Americans have the skills they need to
compete in the digital economy. Please welcome Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.