Broadband views from economic developers

Craig Settles recently published a survey of economic developers and their views on broadband, broadband use, broadband access and broadband policy. It’s interesting. Some results I would have expected and some I didn’t.

Not surprising:

  • More than 90% of those surveyed found government-recommended goals of 4 Mbps for rural areas inadequate for impacting economic development outcomes.
  • More than 55% believe speeds of 100 Mbps or more are needed, but within three years, not 10 as some Federal agencies (and National Broadband Policy) support.
  • 6% of those surveyed had access to dialup only (that number is showing up consistently!)
  • Most folks found economic development gains (community, business, personal) benefits with broadband.
  • 62% who believe communities will need between 100 Mbps and 1 gigabit access by 2013 to achieve personal economic development goals.

Surprising:

  • 58% of respondents from all areas believe Universal Service Fund reform should enable communities to determine where funds go that are targeted to broadband.
  • 47% felt that a business model where a private provider owned and managed the networks would most likely ensure the area get adequate broadband.
  • 61% believe broadband can help encourage individual entrepreneurship among underserved individuals but only 19% stipulated that it would require support programs.

The report ends with respondent answers to the following question:

How can you and your professional peers help communities get broadband services that improve local economic development?

Craig Settles is going to be following up the raw numbers (with some commentary) with further analysis in the next few days. I’ll keep my eyes open for more.

This entry was posted in Community Networks, economic development, Policy, Research by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

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