What’s Your Broadband Story?

Do you have a “Broadband Drives Economic Development” story to tell? As a supplement to my¬†national survey of economic development¬†professionals I’m writing a progress report on who’s actually accomplishing specific economic outcomes with their broadband networks (wired, wireless, community-owned, public private partnership, whatever you’ve got).

One of the biggest pushbacks broadband champions of all stripes hear is that there’s not a direct link between broadband and economic development. I’m looking for stories from around the country – rural areas, urban cities, a group of farmers broad-banding together, a dozen assisted living buildings linked by a common computing center, pilot projects or done deals.

You don’t have to write your whole story here in the Comments section. I just need the high points such as “We built x-type of network in y-location for some number of subscribers and achieved z-results.

I do need a way to get back with you because I’ll have a few questions about the particulars of your project and your outcomes.” You can e-mail me (craig @cjspeaks. com) if you don’t want your contact info out there for the world to see.

The survey closes today (8/31). I’m starting interviews next week, so you want to hurry up and get your story in the queue for consideration. By the time I release the survey report on September 19, I hope to have all of these interviews completed.

The end product is going to be pretty cool and very informative, which means great exposure for your project. So, whataya got for me?

What Econ Dev Professionals Are Saying about Broadband

This week, in partnership with the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), I launched my annual national survey of economic development professionals to gather their feedback on the role broadband plays, or could play, influencing various local economic outcomes. I started doing this in 2006 because I felt that government officials, consultants, the media and others were overstating muni wireless’ potential impact on local economies.

The exaggerations from elected officials often were the result of not fully understanding what the technology could and couldn’t do. You have to go to the people who work in the trenches every day tackling economic development issues to learn what are reasonable expectations. More politicians then should have taken their cues from the professionals, but fortunately today quite a few elected leaders are calling it right when it comes to broadband and its economic impact.

This year’s survey doesn’t close until Friday (8/26), and I won’t give away the results until after that. But one thing I always find informative is to give survey respondents one open-ended question in which they say how they really feel about an issue. This year’s bonus question is, “How can you and your professional peers help communities get broadband services that improve local economic development?”

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Top 10 List for Effective Public Private Partnerships

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Today we had Gary Evans, President and CEO of Hiawatha Broadband Communications, as our guest on my Net radio talk show, Gigabit Nation. He gave the audience a great set of top 10 tips and recommendations for maximizing broadband public private partnerships.

Check out the Gigabit Nation archives to listen to the show (click audio player above). Gary also talked about his Q & A with President Obama yesterday on broadband and the economy. Gary was pleased with what he feels is the Administration’s strong commitment to getting broadband into all parts of rural and urban American.

Here is Gary’s Top 10, first from the public sector perspective, and then the private sector’s.

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