Investing in Broadband for Your Local Economy

What can your community do about broadband and how do you invest?

There is a reason that many communities and regions continue to have unserved (no broadband) and underserved (poor quality internet service) areas – there is not enough of a business case for private sector internet service provider investment. They are focusing on opportunities that are more profitable.

SNG shows a new way to pay for broadband by approaching it as digital infrastructure.

The core network can be self-financed through cost-recovery and subscribers opt-in to finance the access network (see how the City of Ammon used Broadband Improvement Districts). All this can be paid for with existing budgets that can be reallocated. The money is hiding in plain sight!

Elected officials and community leaders can now take control of their own broadband future and finally move forward with broadband as essential infrastructure for their businesses and residents – see article: How can municipalities take control of their broadband future?

Investment priorities for your community

All communities and regions are challenged in how to allocate scarce resources among various interests – especially when those interests appear to be competing for funding. Broadband should not be seen as competing for funding nor as an end in itself, but as enabling infrastructure for local economic growth and improved delivery of civic services.

SNG has developed an investment framework for broadband as an enabler of community and economic development goals. It is based on the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by 193 countries in the 70th UN General Assembly in 2015 for governments, businesses, civil society and the general public to work together to build a better future for everyone. SNG has adapted a subset of the SDGs that are applicable to industrialized countries in an increasingly digital economy.

Making the broadband investment decision

When the value of broadband and digital infrastructure is not clear nor quantified, the consequence is under-investment.

Communities and regions investment decisions based on the needs of their residents and businesses. SNG’s research shows that the majority of businesses, organizations, and households do not understand the potential value of broadband and applications enabled by the internet can have. What has been missing and what is needed is a way to personalize the return on investments in digital connectivity to communities, businesses, and residents.

When considering investments in broadband infrastructure community leaders have an opportunity – and increasingly an obligation – to look beyond the typical private sector business case of broadband and digital infrastructure. There are broader community benefits which include:

  • Cost reductions for municipal services, as well as vital community institutions, such as schools and libraries.
  • Cost savings for residents and businesses that make broadband more affordable, increasing broadband access and use.
  • Economic growth opportunities driven by the availability and use of improved broadband services across the community.

In addition to these quantifiable benefits the improved broadband opens up new opportunities for innovative municipal services, including smart city services, for the benefit of citizens. The overall improved vitality of the community can have further positive impacts on property values and local taxes.

What kind of broadband investment?

An increasing number of municipalities have chosen a path to build and operate their own municipal broadband networks or have done so through municipal utility networks. While building and operating a network as a broadband provider is one solution, it is not the only option available to community leaders. Establishing the right broadband infrastructure in the right way, considering all the factors, leads to sustainable, long-term solutions. The right solution and its costs need to be consistent with the benefits that will result from the investment.

SNG has applied our unique and extensive research and experience to assist community leaders in evaluating the costs and benefits beyond the business case to reach the right investment decision.


Evaluate Broadband Benefits

Evaluating broadband’s costs and benefits is the first critical step toward owning your broadband future.

Learn how SNG’s Economic Feasibility Assessment can quickly and affordably get you to the right broadband investment decision.

Assess Broadband Demand

Clearly identifying demand for improved broadband is a critical element in planning your broadband project.

Learn about SNG’s unique Broadband Impact and Market Assessment tailored to your broadband strategy to optimize your success.