Effective broadband helps communities grow and remain a location of choice to live and do business
The march of technological advancement in communications is relentless and will continue to become more and more part of how we live and work. One only needs to look around wherever people gather to see eyes glued to smartphones, tablets, and laptops. People have always needed to connect with each other, to stay informed, to be entertained, and to be productive in the daily lives and work. Technology has changed how this happens, but is serves an underlying need which will not change.
This is why we believe that ubiquitous, quality broadband connectivity is the essential new infrastructure of the 21st century. Communities that lack this infrastructure risk remaining relevant to their citizens and businesses, undermining community vitality and competitiveness as a place to live and work. Just how and why is broadband so important to community vitality and growth?
Choosing where to live or do business
SNG research shows that having good broadband is important for households and businesses for choosing and remaining in their location.
Regardless of how they are using broadband, a high proportion of households and businesses view broadband as very important, even essential, to their location. This puts pressure on communities to ensure that the quality and availability of broadband is not an issue for attracting and retaining population and businesses.
Household lifestyle benefits
In addition to the daily lifestyle benefits that the Internet offers individuals (e.g. communication, entertainment, social media, etc.), broadband offers tangible and meaningful benefits to households through opportunities for education, health services, employment, and household income. This is especially important for smaller and more rural communities that may not have the same level of services locally that are available in more urban areas. High-speed broadband is essential for effectively delivering many services and for households to benefit from the opportunities offered.
One in four households has improved their employment situation through using the internet and almost three out of four generate additional household income from internet activities. SNG’s extensive research of thousands of households shows that 13 percent have a member who teleworks and more than half access their workplace from home on a regular basis. Almost one in four households has a home-based business, while 46 percent use the internet for educational or training needs.
Broadband means jobs
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are the engine of employment growth in most communities. While large employee firms often get the most attention, by some estimates SMEs generate over 50% of job growth. Effective utilization of broadband leads to financial gains for businesses, stimulating and accelerating business growth.
This naturally leads to positive employment impacts for the municipality. SNG research shows that a high use of online business practices accelerates employment growth with more than twice the job creation compared to businesses with low use of online practices.
Smart Cities – Not just for large cities
The smart city concept has been around for many years and there are many examples of innovation-utilizing technology and broadband connectivity in large cities around the world. These concepts are just as applicable to smaller communities where the infrastructure is available and the economies of scale make sense in relation to the opportunities and the needs of the municipality.
Perhaps just as importantly, the benefits to the municipality and its citizens can become an additional driver and justification for investing in broadband infrastructure. Good broadband connectivity is a key underpinning for other technologies that need to communicate to deliver smart city capabilities and services while reducing costs.
A growing dynamic community or a shrinking community – The implications on population, property values, business activity, and tax revenues are clear. Just as people cannot accept poor roads, electricity, or water quality, quality broadband is increasingly and expectation and an essential infrastructure.
|Not sure where to start?
Please check out our online Community Broadband Toolkit to learn more about the steps toward taking control of your own broadband future.
|Ready to start?
Making sure you are ready to successfully take action is critical. Learn about SNG’s Community Broadband Readiness Self-assessment to engage community stakeholders and optimize your success.
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