National Survey Report – Broadband’s Impact on Economic Development: The Real Deal

Every two years, the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) and I team up to survey economic development professionals and others nationwide to learn how broadband is impacting economic development efforts. This year, 301 individuals participated, and their feedback has been particularly revealing (Read the full report here).

The 2010 survey is “The Real Deal” as it digs beneath the hype surrounding broadband’s potential to influence local economies, and extracts data from those who deal with these issues daily. We also present for the first time the comments respondents offered to help implement broadband projects that produce economic development results. And on October 13 (2:00 p.m. EDT), I’m conducting a Webinar to give you steps for moving forward with a strategy after you’ve read the survey report.

Respondents’ peers as well as government policy makers need to read and heed both the data and the comments. Several results of the survey argue sharply against directions that some government agencies, politicians and private industries appear to be leading us.

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Guest Blogger Esme Vos: How Highspeed Wireless Broadband (Wi-Fi) Can Help Economically Depressed Communities

As my survey on broadband’s impact on economic development (sponsored by the International Economic Development Council – IEDC) wraps up, I want to spotlight one of the topics covered in the survey. The role of wireless is important, and here’s Muniwireless.com founder and industry maven Esme Vos with valuable insight on why you should consider WiFi in your broadband plans.

The economic crisis has devastated many communities, but the hardest hit are located in regions that have relied on manufacturing and farming as their primary sources of income. How does fast Wi-Fi help economically depressed communities?

There’s no doubt that high speed broadband is a necessity today, much as roads, bridges and railways were in the past century. Without broadband, it is nearly impossible to sell your goods and services beyond the limits of your town. Even porter guides for the Annapurna Trail in Nepal have Facebook accounts to keep in touch with their clients, urge them to come back and refer new clients to them.

Therefore, communities must try to get as much broadband as they can, in the cheapest way possible. Most communities cannot afford to bring fiber to every home even if that is the broadband nirvana that we all aspire to. Since the start of the economic crisis, it has been even more difficult to find financing for broadband projects (outside the federal stimulus grants).

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An iPad for Your Thoughts on Broadband’s Impact on Economic Development

Calling all economic development professionals! And government and nonprofit folks involved with economic development in your community.

Here’s your opportunity to join me in influencing the national discussion on broadband, contribute valuable advice to your peers and win a very cool Apple 16GB iPad with WiFi!

We read all the time that broadband improves economic development, but what can communities realistically expect broadband to achieve? I’m partnering with the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) to conduct my bi-annual survey to get your views on how broadband is impacting economic development in your community.

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The Oft Unspoken Word

This is a poem I wrote for USA Today published just after the 9/11 attacks. Today and every day, the words still make sense since we often take too many of the simple, cherished things for granted.

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