SNG in the News

SNG’s Ammon Analysis Featured in Broadband Communities Magazine

In advance of SNG’s announcement next month of an exciting new offering called the Broadband Benefits Assessment, SNG’s analysis was featured in the pre-Broadband Summit issue of Broadband Communities.  The Ammon assessment is featured in Michael Curri’s article, “A Local Ownership Approach to Broadband.” SNG takes a deep dive to explain how this exciting new model pays for itself, saves the municipality, businesses, and households money, and pays for itself. 
Click to read the article >>


SNG Releases “50 States of Broadband” Report Uncovering State-by-State Broadband Activities and Investment

UPDATE: In February of 2017 SNG provided an update to this report.  

Report Leverages Survey Results to Rank States in Terms of Their Broadband Availability, Activities and Investment

Today in conjunction with the Rural Telecommunications Congress (RTC), Strategic Networks Group (SNG) released its extensive report on broadband investment and activity. The report, available at sngroup.com/states combines FCC availability and adoption figures with SNG’s survey results of 48 states to rank states on the following dimensions: Availability, Adoption, Driving Meaningful Use, Growth Investment, and Regulation.

Download the report>>

“We put a great deal of time into determining the dimensions and how to measure each,” explains Doug Adams, SNG’s VP Communications. “There’s so much more to maximizing the benefits of broadband than merely providing fiber/higher speeds.”

Ranking each state with a weight for each category yielded the following as the top 5 states in terms of broadband; New York, Ohio, Maine, New Mexico, and New Hampshire.

Some highlights of the findings include:

  • 52% of states have an office dedicated to broadband
  • Only a little more than a quarter (28%) definitely have a budget to fund broadband initiatives
  • Activities most often funded by states are “planning and support” (82% of funded states) and infrastructure (45%).

“One overall finding that was interesting is that investment activities seem to be heavily weighted towards the “supply” of broadband and include mapping, infrastructure planning, and grants, surpassing economic development activities that impact economic advancement including raising awareness, training, and driving end-user utilization,” explains Michael Curri, SNG’s president and founder.

Key contributors to this initiative were:

  • Doug Adams, Strategic Networks Group
  • Michael Curri, Strategic Networks Group
  • Lori Sherwood, Vantage Point Solutions
  • Gary Dunmore, Strategic Networks Group
  • Monica Babine, Washington State University
  • Maria Alvarez-Stroud, University of Wisconsin-Extension

About Strategic Networks Group (SNG)
Focused on economic advancement through broadband utilization, SNG is a group of broadband economists who develop strategies for most effectively leveraging broadband investments. SNG addresses broadband utilization from the individual organization level all the way up to working with more than 10 ten states across the United States. SNG looks to help make the most broad-reaching and transformational impacts that broadband can bring to enable businesses, communities and regions by delivering the data and analysis decision makers need to maximize broadband’s potential. Learn more about SNG at www.sngroup.com.

About Rural Telecommunications Congress (RTC)
The Rural Telecommunications Congress (RTC) is a national membership organization dedicated to assuring that rural areas in the United States have access to the information and support they need to obtain and use advanced telecommunications services and technology for social and economic development. Visit RTC online at www.ruraltelecon.org.

If you would like to download the entire report, click here>>

For questions, clarification, or to make sure your state is fully represented in our study, email states@sngroup.com.


SNG Announces Broadband Economic Impact Model to Reveal Meaningful Use’s Growth Potential

Leveraging Financial Impacts Data from Tens of Thousands of American Businesses, SNG Can Show Regions the Power of Programs that Look “Beyond Availability” and Drive Internet Utilization

Strategic Networks Group (SNG) today announced an innovative model for estimating economic impacts generated from increasing businesses’ meaningful use of Internet applications.

The model was developed because broadband’s economic impact is shown to be marginal without meaningful use by businesses. Furthermore, SNG’s research shows the majority of businesses are underutilizing Internet applications – foregoing growth opportunities. The smaller the business (90% of US businesses are classified as small businesses), the less they’re using broadband’s applications. The opportunity cost to communities and regions are unrealized economic benefits.

SNG’s new Broadband Economic Impact Model estimates the potential economic growth from increased broadband use. The model uses quantitative analysis to reveal the potential economic impacts from broadband for your region based on a variety of broadband utilization scenarios. Powering this model is SNG’s extensive research from tens of thousands of businesses that have reported Internet utilization and accompanying financial impacts.

“As states and municipalities focus on ensuring the necessary broadband infrastructure to create and foster economic growth, more and more regions have come to us wondering how to ensure broadband’s benefits are realized,” explained Michael Curri, president of SNG. “The Broadband Economic Impact Model actually projects what meaningful use of broadband can mean for job creation, business growth, and increased tax revenues.”

For those who want to look beyond a laissez-faire approach to economic development through broadband, the model empowers regions and states to develop strategies to drive meaningful use and proactively create growth.

To see what the Broadband Economic Impact Model reveals about the economic growth potential meaningful use has in your region visit: www.sngroup.com/impacts.


SNG Announces Partnership with Shoals Entrepreneurial Center to Create Jobs and Grow Businesses Through Internet Utilization Programs

US Federal POWER Initiative Funds to be Used to help Businesses and Displaced Coal Workers in Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee

shoalsSuperior, CO – Today, SNG and Shoals Entrepreneurial Center in Alabama announced that the Shoals Shift program will include SNG’s broadband benchmarking, business assistance, and workforce training programs. All of these efforts are focused on capitalizing on opportunities available through the Internet and its applications.

The Shoals Entrepreneurial Center received $997,000 in matching funds from the Appalachian Regional Commission’s POWER Initiative (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) to fund Shoals Shift. POWER is a federal program put in place to assist Appalachian communities with funding to assist coal communities transition to a new economy by ”cultivating economic diversity, enhancing job training and re-employment opportunities, creating jobs in existing or new industries, and attracting new sources of investment.”

Shoals Shift will utilize SNG’s comprehensive and industry-leading eSolutions Benchmarking to help develop digital strategies for the region. Also included in this three-year partnership will be the Small Business Growth Program, a program that shows businesses the economic impacts that inspire greater Internet application utilization, grow businesses, and create job opportunities.

Giles McDaniel, Executive Director of the Shoals Entrepreneurial Center explained that the grant will help accelerate the growth of a digital economy, “We plan to implement three interconnected strategies; 1) building an innovation discovery pipeline, 2) cultivating a culture of collaboration and entrepreneurship, and 3) strengthening existing businesses.”

“SNG’s programs are specifically designed to help businesses grow and create job opportunities,” explains Michael Curri, president of SNG. “We’re thrilled to be an integral part of helping the Shoals region transition to a digital economy.”

About Strategic Networks Group (SNG)
Focused on economic advancement through broadband utilization, SNG is a group of broadband economists who develop strategies for most effectively leveraging broadband investments. SNG addresses broadband utilization from the individual organization level all the way up to working with more than 10 ten states across the United States. SNG looks to help make the most broad-reaching and transformational impacts that broadband can bring to enable businesses, communities and regions by delivering the data and analysis decision makers need to maximize broadband’s potential. Learn more about SNG at www.sngroup.com.

About The Shoals Entrepreneurial Center
The Shoals Entrepreneurial Center (SEC) is a business incubator located in northwest Alabama.  Business incubation is a proven tool for regional economic growth.  Our business model has a 90% success rate.  The Center supports start-up and emerging companies to help them successfully launch and grow.  We offer a cluster of commercial space, technical assistance, and a wide-ranging network of partners to provide a critical framework to help entrepreneurs meet their business goals.


Tennessee Releases SNG & NEO Holistic Report on Broadband Availability and Utilization

Yesterday the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) released a comprehensive report examining broadband supply and demand statewide.

When Tennessee first approached SNG late in 2015, the state was clear that there indeed were issues with sufficient broadband, especially in rural areas and that broadband was a “crucial factor in the economic success of their communities.” Tennessee was looking at answering several questions including:

  • What should the state’s definition of broadband be?
  • How many Tennesseans do not have access to broadband?
  • What is the cost of bringing broadband to Tennesseans that do not have it?
  • What are best practices and lessons learned for promulgating broadband from around the country?

This report is significantly different than the “standard” as it examines broadband using a holistic approach to assessing availability and need. It is the first time that both broadband supply and demand have been assessed at a state level.

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SNG Provides ISPs a New Way to Increase Revenues and Retain Customers

bb checkupOffering Allows ISPs to Help Businesses Better Utilize Their High-Bandwidth Service

Nashville, Tennessee – Today at the FTTH Conference & Expo, Strategic Networks Group (SNG) announced a new way for ISPs to increase revenues and retain customers. The Broadband Checkup enables ISPs to distinguish themselves as a partner to local businesses by showing them, through third-party research, how better broadband can grow their business. The Broadband Checkup is an innovative marketing strategy for ISPs to differentiate themselves as well as good PR as the program demonstrates a collaborative partnership and desire to help local businesses grow.

The Broadband Checkup is a cost-effective, low-risk means for ISPs to provide customers with SNG’s popular “Digital Economy index (DEi) Scorecards.” Contained within these scorecards are recommendations and competitive intelligence on Internet applications to be adopted and the accompanying ROI.  The scorecard benchmarks a business’ self-reported Internet use against its peers from SNG’s database of more than 40,000 businesses. By doing so, the DEi scorecard reveals the Internet activities a business’ peers (based on size and industry) are using, along with the average benefits in terms of new revenues and cost savings.

“The Broadband Checkup allows ISPs that are already providing businesses with better speeds exactly how to most effectively use their service,” explained Michael Curri, president and founder of SNG. “Beyond availability, the Broadband Checkup shows businesses what they could and should be doing online to be more competitive and increase their revenues.”

“ISPs who provide their community the Broadband Checkup distinguish themselves as community business partner, not just a vendor,” said Doug Adams, VP Communications. “The offering will create community goodwill, demonstrating partnership, and show that the ISP is invested in the community, its businesses, and helping them grow.”

For more information, visit sngroup.com/isp.

About Strategic Networks Group (SNG)

Focused on economic advancement through broadband utilization, SNG is a group of broadband economists who develop strategies for most effectively leveraging broadband investments. SNG addresses broadband utilization from the individual organization level all the way up to working with more than 10 ten states across the United States. SNG looks to help make the most broad-reaching and transformational impacts that broadband can bring to enable businesses, communities and regions by delivering the data and analysis decision makers need to maximize broadband’s potential. Learn more about SNG at www.sngroup.com.


Governor Cuomo Announces New York State Ranks #1 in the Nation For Broadband Activity and Investment

Strategic Networks Group Surveys Broadband Initiatives in Nationwide Study; Ranks New York State First Overall
from New York State Website

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that Strategic Networks Group, a world leader in broadband econometrics, ranked New York State number one in the nation for broadband activity and investment. “The 50 States of Broadband” study surveyed broadband investment activities on a state-by-state basis and determined that New York State ranked first overall in availability, adoption, driving meaningful use, growth investment, and regulation.

“The New NY Broadband Program is laying the groundwork for a strong economy by connecting households and businesses in every corner of the state, enabling New York businesses to compete on the world stage,” Governor Cuomo said. “We are proud to be home to the most robust broadband program in the nation and this ranking further emphasizes our role as a leader in next-generation high-speed internet infrastructure.”

SNG conducted its study from February through March 2016 and provided states with an online survey to complete. 48 states participatedand each responder was asked to report on five key dimensions of broadband: availability, adoption, meaningful use, growth investment, and regulation. Responses were used to rank states on these dimensions and develop a composite overall ranking.

“The Broadband Program Office is excited that New York State was selected as the overall leader in broadband capability in the nation,” said Empire State Development Executive Vice President of Broadband and Innovation Jeffrey Nordhaus. “This acknowledgement underlines the Governor’s commitment to broadband, which is the boldest and most ambitious in the nation. While we are proud of the recognition, the BPO continues to be focused on delivering results for New Yorkers and looks forward to the results of the Phase One auction.”

The New NY Broadband Program is designed to ensure that every New Yorker has access to high-speed internet by 2018. The Program, along with the Public Service Commission’s order approving the merger of Time Warner Cable and Charter Communications, will significantly increase broadband availability for millions of New Yorkers across the state.

Central components of the Program include:

  • New access to broadband at speeds of at least 100 Mbps; 25 Mbps in the most remote areas of the state.
  • High priority for areas and projects that most improve broadband Internet access in unserved areas, including libraries and educational opportunity centers.
  • Applications will be chosen through a “reverse-auction” process, which will award funding to bidders seeking the lowest state investment.
  • Auctions to be held within each Regional Economic Development Council region to ensure statewide allocations of funding.

Broadband is an essential component for creating and sustaining economic opportunity throughout New York State, by connecting businesses with consumers and markets around the globe. While New York’s broadband landscape has seen substantial improvements over the past four years, many households are still unable to fully access it. Visit the Broadband For All website for more information.

About Empire State Development
Empire State Development is New York’s chief economic development agency (www.esd.ny.gov). The mission of ESD is to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the State and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies. Through the use of loans, grants, tax credits and other forms of financial assistance, ESD strives to enhance private business investment and growth to spur job creation and support prosperous communities across New York State. ESD is also the primary administrative agency overseeing Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Councils and the marketing of “I Love NY,” the State’s iconic tourism brand. For more information on Regional Councils and Empire State Development, visit www.nyworks.ny.gov and www.esd.ny.gov.


Rural Broadband Deficiencies Highlighted in Tennessee

As part of extensive community outreach within Tennessee to drive participation in our utilization study, a media blitz shed light on the issues within the state. Channel 10 news highlights interviews with citizens who detail their challenges with their current Internet connectivity. In this video, watch for one citizen’s colorful description of the “slow circle of death” as they wait for connectivity.


What is Innovation?

curri harvard videoThoughts from Harvard’s Strategic Innovation Summit

Last month I presented at the Strategic Innovation Summit: Enabling Economies for the Future held at Harvard University. The summit proved to be extremely worthwhile as discussions with my fellow presenters and attendees left me with a new and deeper perspective on innovation and how we should nurture it.

My main takeaway was this: innovation is a process. It requires scaling and ‘democratizing’ new technologies and new ways of doing business. To accomplish this community leaders need to continuously communicate and share a vision for effective use of technology with their citizens and businesses. The process of driving adoption and effective use of broadband in a community or region is the process of innovation.

More and more communities recognize broadband as a platform for innovation. They realize how important broadband is for economic development, but they are taking a ‘build it and they will come’ approach. This has proven to be a difficult and ineffective not only as a model for sustainable networks, but more importantly in realizing the economic and social benefits from citizens and businesses effectively using broadband networks.

SNG has witnessed firsthand the challenges of fostering innovation through our work with a dozen American states. A large problem rests with how broadband is presented and that ‘speed’ is assumed to be the magic ingredient that creates innovation. SNG has found that the process of engaging people in any community or region is actually the biggest challenge because the majority of people (approximately 80%) need to understand the benefits of technology and how it can help them before they adopt – they are technology pragmatists. Getting these pragmatists to change their behaviors will require more than promoting a feature like gigabit speed and waiting for growth to happen. These pragmatists need to understand the anticipated benefits and the actual return from their technology investments (in time and money).

Communities need to develop and implement processes to move businesses to an understanding and comfort level where they are ready, able, and excited to take action. And what is “action?” Incorporating broadband and its accompanying Internet applications have the power to transform and grow businesses.

Broadband can be your community’s platform for innovation, but availability is merely the first step. Your community must find a way to foster innovation through effective broadband utilization. This requires dedicated and ongoing communication of challenges, potential solutions, and vision about how broadband will transform their lives. This is innovation. Local resources must support and continuously communicate the benefits of broadband initiatives across stakeholder groups to foster innovation.

To borrow from a fellow presenter at the summit, “technology does not cause change – it enables, facilitates, and accelerates changes we already aspire to.” Communities that communicate their vision and mobilize stakeholders will create opportunities and success. This includes keeping and growing existing businesses, as well as attracting new businesses.

SNG has a program that helps numerous communities foster innovation among small businesses, where innovation lives in growing regions. Almost 90% of businesses in the US have less than 20 employees and do not have the technology staff or advisors to guide them through this process. Find a way to help these businesses innovate and your community will reap the rewards.

Download white paper from event, “Enabling Economies for the Future” >> 


KC’s New Small Business Program Gives Entrepreneurs a Leading Edge in the Digital Age

 Partnership with Strategic Networks Group helps businesses leverage broadband for business growth

KCMOToday, the City of Kansas City, Missouri announced an exciting partnership with Strategic Networks Group (SNG) to provide local business owners with the tools they need to leverage online resources for business growth resources and guidance. The partnership will grant business owners with access to SNG’s Small Business Growth Program, which is designed to educate small business owners on how to use the Internet and how to best direct limited online resources for maximum effectiveness.

“Thanks to Google, we have the infrastructure in place,” said Mayor Sly James, Kansas City. “It’s time to show our businesses how to capitalize on it and all the Internet has to offer in terms of growth opportunities.”

As part of the program, small business owners will complete a self-assessment which will provide SNG with important data about the company’s internet usage and business goals. Using this information, SNG will provide the business owner with a customize roadmap to help guide the small business to better utilize the Internet to drive revenues and reduce costs.

“We see this program as being incredibly beneficial for our local businesses,” explains Scott Taylor, City Councilman for Kansas City’s 6th District at Large. “We have been incredibly fortunate to see significant investment in our City’s broadband infrastructure recently. Now is the time to help businesses capitalize. With this program we are able to show businesses just how to do so by revealing what their direct peers and competitors are doing online.”

SNG has surveyed tens of thousands of businesses across the nation regarding their Internet use and accompanying financial benefits. Using this data, SNG is able to compare how a business in Kansas City is leveraging the benefits of broadband connection in comparison to their peers and competitors. For example, a participating manufacturer with 10 employees will receive a customized report that shows the top three Internet applications (in terms of revenue and cost benefits) that they should be undertaking – along with the average financial impact their peers are realizing.

“We’ve found that small businesses across North America are notoriously slow to adopt Internet applications,” explains Doug Adams, VP of Communications for SNG. “Research in more than a dozen states shows us time and again that small businesses either don’t understand how Internet applications are relevant to their business or lack the will to take the time to deploy them. The smaller the business, the more significant this is, which is especially disconcerting considering a vast majority of businesses are small.”


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