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Google violates diversity standards yet gets rewarded FCC White Spaces grant

DailyFinance reports

Nine companies, including Google (GOOG), have received Federal Communications Commission approval to use unused broadcast frequencies — so-called “white spaces” — to expand the availability of wireless broadband.

“While the operation of multiple database administrators may present some coordination challenges, we find it is in the public interest to have multiple parties developing business models for this new mechanism,” the FCC said in a statement Wednesday. “The value of this exercise extends beyond databases for the TV bands, as the Commission is also considering employing similar database approaches in other spectrum bands.”

The use of white spaces for broadband “will lead to the next generation of wireless technologies,” Larry Alder, Google business operations principal, wrote In a blog post Thursday. “Today, we’re one step closer to a world with super WiFi.”

This is exciting news especially for new innovative wireless services and because there is not enough spectrum to go around to accommodate all the new and next generation of services.  My only beef with this announcement is my growing frustration over the absence of diversity at our nation’s technology and innovation companies: Apple, Google, Amazon, eBay, Level 3, Yahoo!, CBS, Newscorp, Motorola and others continuously and pervasively refuse to release their EEO data or submit to any survey on their diversity and hiring.  These companies were among the over 300 that refused to even reply to Senator Menedez’s 2010 Fortune 500 Diversity inclusion survey.  Facebook’s diversity is also lacking as well, although I notice it is hiring worldwide.

According to Current Population Survey, there were 94,000 blacks employed in computer and electronic manufacturing in 2008 and I am certain the numbers for Hispanics, Asians and Native  [EDITED TO ADD: According to the National Science Foundation, over 160,00science and engineering bachelor degrees earned in 2008 were conferred on minorities.  Over 19,000 of the masters degrees in science and engineering fields , comprising of over 25% of these degrees conferred in 2008, were earned by minorities. Even if you remove from the mix Asian/Pacific Islanders who enter theses fields disproportionately to their existence in the US population, that is still a lot of candidates to recruit from so there is no excuse].

I find it hard to believe that in 2011, those companies can have such a difficult time finding qualified persons of color to work among their ranks in substantive positions.  Appalling that our government would reward contracts to companies like Google without requiring some sort of diversity inclusion.

This revelation is startling because Google’s award would seemingly be in  violation of of the standards set by the new Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI)  which is responsible for ensuring that all financial agencies have diversity in management, employment and procurement. The directors of OMWI must develop and implement standards and procedures to ensure, to the maximum extent possible, the fair inclusion and utilization of minorities, women, and minority-owned and women-owned businesses in all business and activities of the agency at all levels, including in procurement, insurance, and all types of contracts.  [EDITED TO ADD FOR CLARIFICATION: The standards would have befall on the FCC to implement on its PRIVATE SECTOR contractors if it would have been subject to it as the financial services sector is [as William Tucker pointed out].  Shame though. I wonder if the FCC’s OBO has standards for procurement.]

To that extent, a company like Google with woeful diversity records would not be eligible to receive a government benefit until it does something about its record.

Wolters Kluwer did a great summary of the new office.  Maybe, I should send over a complimentary link to my friends in Silicon Valley.

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Jeneba “JJ Ghatt”,is editor at Jenebapeaks.com, an online hub where she helps social media butterfly who empowers digital entrepreneurs and professionals to create great things online at her online learning platform Digital Publishing Academy.  She is an editor of tech blog Techyaya.com and founded the annual 200 Black Women to Follow On Twitter List. Read her bio, then get all of her online & digital biz startup advice and tools in one spot here!

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