As we focus on a strategy for successful broadband initiatives and network builds, have you ever been asked by your constituents – how do I compare to my competition? What are other communities doing to better leverage broadband? What are the benefits of broadband should I be leveraging? In general, how am I doing?
SNG has recently announced our Digital Economy Index (DEi) – an assessment tool, an organization-specific “scorecard” that draws on information from eSolutions Benchmarking to assist small businesses and other organizations see where they stand. SNG’s DEi is a composite score of how organizations use Internet-enabled applications, or “e-solutions,” to drive productivity and competitiveness. By providing organizations’ with their DEi score, you are providing them insights into their utilization of e-solutions, how they compare to their peers, and where they can adjust to increase efficiencies, innovation, and profitability.
The Digital Economy Index helps organizations develop their own broadband adoption plan (and economic growth path). Which leads into the next step, awareness & adoption support (Step 5 of the Broadband Lifecycle, or path to owning your digital future).
Across the globe the 2008-09 global downturn had deep impacts. Many households were stretched thin, looking for ways to supplement lost income or to supplement declining or stagnant salaries.
SNG worked with the e-North Carolina Authority in 2010 to conduct “eSolutions Benchmarking” across the state to understand how households are using broadband to tackle some of their challenges.
The study revealed the potential of broadband for competitiveness and economic opportunity:
- Nearly a third (31%) of the State’s broadband households operate a business from their home;
- The number of households either currently running (31%) or planning to run a business from their home in the
next twelve months (14%) is nearly half (45%) of the State’s broadband
- Even more broadband households are either now using (41%) or planning to use (24%) broadband to sell items online.
That’s nearly two-thirds (65%) of broadband households using it to at least supplement their income;
- Most (85%) of home-based businesses said that broadband was essential to their business. More than half
(54%) said that they would not be in business if they did not have broadband while two in five (41%) would have to relocate if broadband was not available in their community.
In good times and in bad, broadband is critical for community members to earn income (and extra
income). But in bad times, research shows us that home-based businesses and sole proprietorships are more likely to sprout up. More than ever, it is critical for states and communities that want to remain competitive – and even thrive – to have broadband as a platform for innovation and competitiveness.
By Michael Curri – Broadband networks can create a “platform for productivity, competitiveness and innovation” in your community – delivering the infrastructure to capture economic and social opportunities, some known, some yet to be invented. Many communities fail during the broadband strategy, build-out and adoption phases as they lack focus and/or sufficient investment of time, energy, and resources.
Too often communities develop strategies based on following recipes from other regions. Instead of uncovering what the needed resources are, or how to leverage current efforts to best serve the specific and unique needs of the community, civic leaders race to “do what they did.”
There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution for successful broadband strategies that bring economic and civic benefits to a region and its citizens. Each community not only has different needs, but different strengths to best leverage the broadband platform. Strategic Networks Group (SNG) has for years been helping governments, at municipal, regional and national levels, to best understand where investment will make the biggest impact – and each and every time the best approach involves following the Broadband Lifecycle, or path to owning your digital future.
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