U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.


  1. Home
  2. News
  3. Speeches

Was this page helpful?

Remarks by U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves at the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) Forum


Thank you for inviting me to speak to you today.

We all know that fast and reliable internet access is vital for everyday life. That’s become even more apparent over the last two years.

We rely on internet access to connect with family, work remotely, and schedule telehealth appointments.

And as you know, reliable internet service is absolutely crucial to education.

Unfortunately, that access isn’t always equal or affordable.

25 percent of Hispanic children live in households without high-speed internet and 18 percent of Hispanic teenagers don’t have access to a home computer at all.

You know that all too well at Hispanic Serving Institutions across the country.

HSIs educate more than 4.5 million students, including over 3.5 million Hispanic students. As COVID shifted classes online, many students who lacked access simply stopped going to school.

That’s not acceptable in 2022.

Gaps in access mean gaps in opportunity. America’s diversity is a competitive advantage – but only if we give everyone an opportunity to fulfill their potential and fully participate.

Thanks to President Biden’s leadership, Congress passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which includes nearly $50 billion in funding for the Commerce Department to achieve the goal of universal broadband. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration, or NTIA, is responsible for administering this funding.

With these resources, we’ll bring broadband infrastructure to every corner of our country, make service affordable for everyone, and ensure users have the devices and digital skills they need to succeed.

NTIA has also launched the new Connecting Minority Communities Program, which will help HSIs, HBCUs, and tribal colleges get online. As you know well, these campuses are vital community centers that fuel job creation, entrepreneurship, and economic growth.

I know that HACU worked closely with NTIA to get the word out about this program, and I want to thank you for that. More than 200 applications were submitted, and in the coming months, we will distribute over $250 million to help these institutions purchase broadband service and equipment, hire IT personnel, and create digital literacy programs.

We want these investments to deliver immediate benefits to campuses and their surrounding communities.

So let me close by thanking you for the work you do to ensure that HSIs are getting the support and help they need from the federal government.

I’m excited about the opportunities ahead of us. If we work hard and work together, we will close the digital divide for good and strengthen our minority serving institutions.

With dependable internet access, we will increase the opportunity for everyone to succeed in the 21st century global economy.

Thank you.