Rural Businesses and the Internet

Thanks to John Shepard for the heads up on a recent report by Jack Geller and the EDA Center at the University of Minnesota, Crookston (Rural Businesses and the Internet: The Integration Continues). The research report looks at adoption and utilization of Internet technologies among businesses throughout rural Minnesota. They surveyed 689 rural businesses across the state and across all industry sectors.

Here are some of the highlights. Most business in Minnesota (69 percent) have fewer than 10 employees and report gross sales of less than $1 million (65 percent). Almost 90 percent now operate online. Most use broadband; only 4.3 percent report using dialup. But of those who didn’t have broadband half reported that it wasn’t available. Most businesses (70 percent) are happy with their broadband speed and cost. The median cost was $50 per month; an impressively low was $20 per month, while some larger businesses reported paying well over $1000 per month.

The chart below outlines what rural businesses are doing online:


I think these reports are extremely valuable. We can guess all we want about what rural businesses need. We can find case studies to fit whatever point we want to prove – but a nice broad survey is helpful.

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