Literature review on the impact of broadband

When you need numbers to make your case I know where you can go! To the new report from Purdue University (by Roberto Gallardo, Brian Whitacre and Alison Grant) – Research & Policy Insights: Broadband’s Impact A Brief Literature Review. It looks at research related to broadband specifically on the following topics:

  • Economic Development
  • Migration & Civic Engagement
  • Education
  • Telework
  • Telehealth
  • Smart Cities, Big Data, & Artificial Intelligence
  • Agriculture

Again, it’s a great reference tool to help give you quality answers to help make the case for better broadband. It’s also inspiring to read. I wanted to share just a portion they wrote about rural broadband…

Focusing on rural areas is important since they are lagging behind urban areas when it comes to broadband deployment and use (Perrin, 2017; Good, 2017). Furthermore, rural places need digital connectivity in order to compensate for their remoteness (Salemink, Strijker, & Bosworth, 2015). Studies that have given specific attention to rural areas have noted a positive relationship between rural broadband access and adoption and greater economic growth (Stenberg, et al., 2009), attraction of new firms (Kim & Orazem, 2017), higher household incomes (Whitacre, Gallardo, & Stover, 2014), small business growth (Shideler & Badasyan, 2012), increase in annual sales and value added (Canzian, Poy, & Schuller, 2015), and growth in annual payroll and number of business establishments (Kandilov & Renkow, 2010). In addition, a recent article explored the effects of USDA broadband loan programs on agriculture and found a positive impact on farm sales, expenditures, and profits among rural counties adjacent to metropolitan counties (Kandilov, Kandilov, Liu, & Renkow, 2017).

Additional studies have estimated the economic impact of rural broadband or lack thereof. The Hudson Institute estimated that broadband companies contributed $2.4 billion in 2015, supporting over 65,000 jobs and $100 billion in e-commerce (Kuttner, 2016). Another report conducted by Ohio State University attempted to estimate the economic benefits associated with increasing broadband access and adoption in Ohio. Using two research articles that estimated broadband consumer surplus ($1,850 per household per year was used in practice), they concluded that reaching full broadband coverage and adoption among currently unserved Ohio households would result in $2 billion in economic benefits over the next 15 years (Rembert, Feng, & Partridge , 2017). Following a similar methodology, another study found that assuming full access of 25/3 Megabytes per second (Mbps) fixed broadband in the United States and a 20 percent adoption would result in $43.8 billion in economic benefits over 15 years (Gallardo & Rembert, 2017).

Important to note is that distinguishing between broadband access/availability and adoption is critical. Even if broadband is available, subscribing or using it (adoption) is not a given. In fact, Internet know-how or utilization is not randomly distributed among the population. For example, a study among young (college-age) Internet users found that parental education, gender, and race/ethnicity impacted the level of web-use skills (Hargittai, 2010). Furthermore, the relationship between entrepreneurs and creative class workers found that broadband adoption actually had a negative relationship with creative class type of workers in rural communities, while higher broadband availability is associated with a higher level of entrepreneurs (Conley & Whitacre, 2016). Another study found that increases in broadband adoption were more significantly related to changes in median household income and percentage of nonfarm proprietors than broadband availability (Whitacre, Gallardo, & Strover, 2014). Thus, it is important to distinguish between the impact of broadband access/availability and adoption/utilization since the digital divide consists of both (Gallardo, 2016).

MN Farmers Union President affirms important of broadband

The Post Bulletin reports on the re-election of Gary Wertish as president of the Minnesota Farmers Union. He predicts hot topics for 2018 legislature…

Minnesota Farmers Union President Gary Wertish was re-elected to his position for a two-year term during the Minnesota Farmers Union Convention on Nov. 18.

Wertish said three topics will get close attention in 2018: the upcoming Farm Bill, renewable fuel sources like biofuels, and health-care premiums for farmers.

But also notes importance of broadband…

Besides a new Farm Bill and affordable health-care coverage for farmers, Wertish said the repair of bridges and roads, accessibility of broadband in rural areas continue to be areas of concern for the Minnesota Farmers Union.

US Ignite, Inc. Adds Red Wing Ignite in Minnesota to Growing Smart Gigabit Communities (SGC) Program

Good news from Red Wing…

Today, US Ignite, Inc. announced that Red Wing Ignite, located in southern Minnesota, is the newest participant in the US Ignite Smart Gigabit Communities (SGC) program. US Ignite is a nonprofit that spurs the creation of next-generation applications and services that leverage advanced networking technologies to build the foundation for smart communities. Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2015, US Ignite’s Smart Gigabit Communities program is creating “living lab” environments for the next generation of gigabit applications. Red Wing Ignite joins 24 other national and international communities participating in the SGC program.

“Building a diverse set of communities has been important to us since the start of the SGC program,” said William Wallace, Executive Director of US Ignite. “We are excited to have Red Wing on board to provide the unique perspective of a rural community. As an original member of US Ignite in 2013, the community has already succeeded in becoming a regional hub for digital innovation and business development. Joining the program is its next step in continuing this path of success.”

“We value the partnership we have built with US Ignite over the past four years, and we are honored to receive this new opportunity for our region,” said Neela Mollgaard, Executive Director of Red Wing Ignite and Community Leader of the SGC program. “The added resources and connections throughout the country will elevate our efforts in Minnesota.”

Smart Gigabit Communities is a collaboration among US Ignite, universities, municipalities, community anchor institutions like hospitals and schools, nonprofits, network carriers and ISPs.  Together, these organizations are focused on developing smart gigabit applications that address local community needs, such as education, workforce development, public safety, community health, smart energy and transportation. Each member of the program has committed to develop two gigabit applications or gigabit services per year that provide advanced technology solutions to issues faced by that community. They also agree to share those applications with other participants in the program.

According to US Ignite, it is essential for rural communities to be connected to other communities so that they don’t fall behind in the rapidly changing digital space. Access to a national network is critical in developing, launching and scaling new applications. The SGC program provides the infrastructure that allows Red Wing Ignite to a be a “tech hub” for greater Minnesota and serve students, entrepreneurs and businesses.
For example, Red Wing Ignite has expressed an interest in creating gigabit agricultural applications, as well as clean energy, healthcare, educational, and advanced manufacturing applications. One potential smart agricultural application uses thermal imagery from infrared cameras to measure temperatures and crop water stress during critical crop growth stages. Advanced networks enable local farmers to receive massive amounts of data from these cameras, analyze that data, and make informed decisions.

Hiawatha Broadband Communications (HBC) is a key technology partner for Red Wing Ignite, providing gigabit Internet speeds over FTTP networks reaching Red Wing Ignite users in nine Minnesota counties. HBC’s fiber optic transport ring connects more than twenty southern Minnesota cities with multiple 10 GB and 100 GB backbones. HBC will dedicate a team responsible for the networking and connectivity to partners in the Red Wing Ignite community, led by HBC president Dan Pecarina.

Many other organizations partner within the Red Wing Ignite community, including:  3M, Xcel Energy, City of Red Wing, Blandin Broadband Foundation, and Winona State University.

Hibbing hosts a technology fair for kids – opening tech doors to new career ideas

The Hibbing Daily Tribune reports on the recent Tech Fair at Hibbing Community College…

Geared toward high school students in grades 9-12, five area schools participated in the fair that focused on the ways IT interfaces with everyday life, what career options exist in IT, and the education pathways students can take to get to those careers.

“The goal of the Information Technology Fair is to inform and educate our future workers of the many technological career options that exist on the Iron Range,” said Jessie Matvey, HCC marketing/admissions representative.

Organized into four sections, students heard from guest speakers working in technology within their specific industry.

Molly Solberg of MAS Marketing led talks on Technology and Digital Media. A duo from Fairview Range tackled the topic of Healthcare and Technology. HCC instructors shed light on IT Networking and Security.

Maki and Pierce presented on Manufacturing and Technology.

It’s a great opportunity to introduce kids to jobs that they don’t necessarily see daily and didn’t learn about in younger grades when we were all ready about becoming teachers, police of bakers. They told the story of one of the presenters, which I think best describes the opportunity…

 Had Brandy Maki heard the term “engineering” while in high school, her career path may have been more direct than it has been.

“As a teenager, I didn’t have any kind of direction or support. I knew I was interested in math and programming, but there were not many options at my school,” she said. “I

don’t think I had ever heard of an engineer at that age. I didn’t know one even existed. So for these kids to know one what is and does at their age is a big thing.”

Today, Maki is a development engineer at Detroit Reman-DMR Electronics.

The Fair is part of a larger broadband effort…

The IT Fair was part of a larger, technology initiative that the Hibbing Area Chamber of Commerce is leading to make the best use of information and services that high-speed internet can deliver.

Hibbing is one of the Blandin Foundation six Iron Range Broadband Communities (IRBC). Local leaders are working to identify top technology priorities and create projects to address them.

Better broadband expansion could mean economic boost in Nobles County

The Worthington Globe reports on information provided at the 2017 Fall Broadband Conference…

Nobles County could see more than $7.6 million in economic benefits over 15 years if just 20 percent of unserved households gain access to broadband service, according to a recent study.

Every unserved home in Nobles County is located in a rural area or rural town. Roberto Gallardo, assistant director at the Purdue University Center for Regional Development and author of the study, says rural communities can emerge in the growing digital economy — where people can work online from anywhere — with access to broadband, provided they take advantage of the high speeds that give them a competitive boost.

Gallardo created “digital divide” profiles for all 86 counties in Minnesota to show the divide in broadband service and socioeconomic conditions between rural and urban areas.

The study reports Nobles County had an index score of 42.09, similar to that of most Greater Minnesota counties. The divide, in this case, is mostly between Worthington and the rest of the county, as the city has widespread access to broadband speeds.

The study reports that 26.9 percent of Nobles County residents do not have access to fixed broadband of at least 25Mbps download and 3Mbps upload.

That’s where the Lismore Cooperative Telephone broadband project, funded in part by the Minnesota Office of Broadband Development and Nobles County, will change things — by providing broadband wireless speeds to nearly every home in the county and lightning-fast fiber to hundreds of rural homes and every home in Wilmont and Leota.

In southwest Minnesota, Cottonwood County had the largest divide at 51.86 — 39.4 percent of the county is without broadband service. Murray County had the highest unserved population at 48 percent and would gain more than $6.7 million in economic benefits if that number was cut down.

Main Street Gibbon is getting a 3D printer – that’s what happens with FTTP

I love to share stories about what works when good broadband and innovation meet to the advantage of rural development. Today’s happy story comes from Gibbon, MN.

Winthrop News reports…

The Gibbon City Council has agreed to sell the State Bank of Gibbon building to Corey Theis of Gibbon. The Council asked $14,000 for the building, the amount of expenses that I has in the building.

Theis will pay 25 percent down with the balance on a four year contract for deed at zero percent interest.

Plans for the building is to create a home for a startup 3D printing service shop that will be owned and operative by a local resident of the community. Theis stated that to start with the building will be capable of making various types of plastic parts for jigs, and fixtures, manufacturing tooling, prototypes, product development and engineering consulting.

Gibbon has FTTP through RS Fiber. That makes is possible to download, upload, transfer large design files that would likely be used in 3D printing.

South Dakota is leading effort for Internet sales tax – but MN signs on too

According to USA Today

Thirty-five state attorneys general and the District of Columbia this week signed on to support South Dakota’s legal bid to collect sales taxes from out-of-state Internet retailers.

South Dakota is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review whether retailers can be required to collect sales taxes in states where they lack a physical presence. The case could have national implications for e-commerce.

Minnesota is in support…

The support includes neighboring Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and Wyoming. The other states are: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin.

And a little background…

States have pushed Congress to address the issue without success, and one estimate put the loss to states at roughly $26 billion in 2015. South Dakota estimates it loses about $50 million annually to e-commerce.

“The problem with the physical-presence rule is that it was first conceived of in 1967, two years before the moon landing and decades before the first retail transaction occurred over the Internet,” according to the brief.