The Gigabit City and Economic Development

Those of you who’ve followed my writings regularly know that I conduct a survey every year to get a snapshot of how broadband impacts economic development. Usually I work with the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) to survey their members. This year I switched things up a bit and worked with Broadband Communities magazine to focus on local government staffs, service providers, consultants and others involved with broadband.

The primary purpose for expanding the scope of the survey is to bring additional perspectives into the discussion of broadband and economic development. I still highlight a core of six economic outcomes:

  • attracting new businesses to a community
  • making existing current businesses more profitable
  • reviving depressed business districts
  • increasing home-based businesses
  • reviving depressed communities
  • improving personal economic development

In addition, I gathered feedback on competition, Federal broadband policy, service providers’ business philosophy and government broadband regulation. The report concludes with assessments of survey responses and recommendations for those leading the charge for faster, better broadband in communities.

Some of the survey findings are:

  • Nearly 16% of respondents say they live in a monopoly-controlled market, 41% live in a duopoly market of one major telecom and one major cable company
  • 25% of respondents said their communities plan to start building fiber networks in the next 6-18 months
  • The highest percentages of readers believe 100 – 120 Mbps is the minimum required for all outcomes except attracting new businesses to town, for which 42% believe at least 1 gigabit per second is required
  • 18% of respondents believe that wireless needs to go everywhere that fiber is deployed
  • 33% of Broadband Communities readers feel the leading benefit broadband can deliver to individuals is to help them improve job skills and professional development
  • 37% believe that mandating broadband networks be open access is the only way to ensure competition that lowers prices and increases speeds

Download the complete survey report here. You also want to get the report supplement that contains some interesting answers to the question: Do you expect an increase in communities (through co-ops, nonprofits, community foundations, etc.) taking broadband infrastructure buildouts into their own hands? If so, how will these organizations overcome funding challenges?

This report and supplement is a perfect complement to my latest e-book, Building the Gigabit City, which is a broadband strategy planning guide.

Finally, if you didn’t catch it live, listen to the archived radio show discussion with Broadband Communities Editor Masha Zager. We take a closer look at some of these numbers and what they mean in the bigger broadband picture.

Contact me if you want to explore these survey results further: craig @ cjspeaks .com

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