By Jamal Simmons
As Black History Month draws to a close, it is important to look into the future to fix the problems in Black America today. And one of the biggest challenges facing our community is economic. While the economy is growing, it can do better. The national unemployment rate is 4.8%, and for African Americans, it’s three percentage points higher. What’s more, black median household incomes still lag whites by nearly $30,0001. These disparities are historical trends the United States has not been able to break, even in the best of times. Closing these gaps will not just involve better schools, but will require more entrepreneurship and asset ownership.
There are roughly 2.6 million African-American business owners in the country, but just 109,000 have a firm with at least one employee. The rest of these folks are sole proprietors or independent contractors. U.S. Census data shows that all minority-owned businesses collectively generated only $1.1 trillion in income in 20142, about 3% of the total business receipts in the country. Many African Americans are making up this shortfall through participation in the Gig Economy, using digital platforms to connect to individual tasks for pay.
People have always been able to pick up side “gigs,” but the sophistication of digital and app-based platforms enabled by broadband internet is only making it easier to connect to short-term jobs. According to the Pew Research Center, “nearly one-in-ten Americans (8%) have earned money in the last year using digital platforms to take on a job or task3,” and African Americans and Latinos are more likely than whites to do so. Most of these opportunities exist on app-based platforms, such as Uber or Taskrabbit. The app economy didn’t even exist 10 years ago, and now Apple alone has seen over 140 billion apps downloaded. Without mobile broadband, it would be nearly impossible to see this kind of growth. Today, consumers are standing on corners searching for restaurants, driving down city streets finding riders and taking mobile payments using their cell phones.
Along with mobile data usage, Americans are increasingly taking advantage of home and office devices that require broadband connections. All of this mobile broadband activity is taxing America’s broadband infrastructure. According to the June 2016 Ericsson Mobility Report, North American users will consume 22GB of data each by 2021, just on our smartphones4. Washington, DC policymakers must continue to focus on broadband infrastructure. High-speed internet is not just important for finding a good restaurant or watching an online video; broadband access is an income generator. Again, the Pew Report revealed “some 60% of labor platform users say that the money they earn from these sites is ‘essential’ or ‘important’ to their overall financial situations.”
President Donald Trump has professed interest in building out a huge Infrastructure Plan.
The Democrats in the U.S. Senate offered a plan of their own to spend $20 billion on connecting America’s communities with high-speed broadband that would create 260,000 jobs. Hopefully these leaders won’t let investing in critical infrastructure like broadband fall into the partisan divide. Getting our urban and rural communities up to speed will need an all-hands-on-deck approach that includes private investment. America should be proud of the political and educational advancements made by African Americans in the last 150 years. The next generation of progress for African Americans will be economic, particularly eliminating income and wealth inequality. Entrepreneurship and high-quality, high-paying jobs will be an important part of that solution, and increasing access to high-speed broadband will make closing the gaps easier.
Jamal Simmons is Co-Chair of the Internet Innovation Alliance.
- ^ What’s more, black median household incomes still lag whites by nearly $30,000 (money.cnn.com)
- ^ U.S.
Census data shows that all minority-owned businesses collectively generated only $1.1 trillion in income in 2014(www.usnews.com)
- ^ “nearly one-in-ten Americans (8%) have earned money in the last year using digital platforms to take on a job or task (www.pewinternet.org)
- ^ American users will consume 22GB of data each by 2021, just on our smartphones (www.ericsson.com)
Liberty Broadband Corporation (NASDAQ:LBRDA) insider Richard N. Baer sold 40,139 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, January 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $72.59, for a total value of $2,913,690.01. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 13,288 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $964,575.92. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link. Shares of Liberty Broadband Corporation (NASDAQ:LBRDA) traded up 1.22% on Thursday, reaching $73.86. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 159,830 shares.
Liberty Broadband Corporation has a 1-year low of $42.03 and a 1-year high of $74.26. The stock has a 50-day moving average price of $70.97 and a 200-day moving average price of $66.76. The company has a market capitalization of $13.42 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 11.66 and a beta of 1.45. Large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Locust Wood Capital Advisers LLC bought a new stake in Liberty Broadband Corporation during the second quarter worth about $9,424,000. RMB Capital Management LLC increased its position in Liberty Broadband Corporation by 732.4% in the third quarter. RMB Capital Management LLC now owns 95,396 shares of the company’s stock worth $6,693,000 after buying an additional 83,936 shares during the last quarter.
Cheyne Capital Management UK LLP acquired a new position in Liberty Broadband Corporation during the third quarter worth approximately $5,536,000. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of the Province of Alberta as represented by Alberta Investment Management Corp acquired a new position in Liberty Broadband Corporation during the third quarter worth approximately $5,220,000. Finally, Morgan Stanley increased its position in Liberty Broadband Corporation by 146.7% in the third quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 107,808 shares of the company’s stock worth $7,563,000 after buying an additional 64,105 shares during the last quarter.
79.69% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors. LBRDA has been the subject of a number of research reports. Pivotal Research reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $94.00 target price on shares of Liberty Broadband Corporation in a report on Monday, September 26th. Zacks Investment Research downgraded Liberty Broadband Corporation from a “hold” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a report on Tuesday, November 22nd.
Finally, TheStreet raised Liberty Broadband Corporation from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, November 3rd. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating and five have assigned a buy rating to the company. Liberty Broadband Corporation presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $77.00. About Liberty Broadband Corporation
Liberty Broadband Corporation holds interests in Charter Communications, Inc (Charter), TruePosition, Inc (TruePosition) and Time Warner Cable, Inc (TWC). The Company’s segments include Trueposition, Charter, and Corporate and other.
The TruePosition segment includes the operations of TruePosition, a subsidiary of the Company that develops and markets technology for locating wireless phones and other wireless devices on a cellular network, enabling wireless carriers and government agencies to provide public safety E-9-1-1 services domestically and services in support of national security and law enforcement across the world.