Moving Forward on Digital Infrastructure
What are the decisions your community needs to make?
SNG has over 20 years of experience with broadband and digital transformation in communities and regions, rural and urban, across North America. We offer a pragmatic alternative to longer and more costly broadband feasibility studies. We approach digital infrastructure and transformation with a holistic and longer-term approach. Benefits from investing are not only financial, but also economic (new jobs, GDP) and service improvements for a community.
Based on our experience of what it takes to move a community or region through a digital infrastructure and transformation process, below are questions local leaders should be asking and next steps they should be taking when considering broadband and digital infrastructure investments:
Is there enough demand?
SNG’s Digital Economy Demand Checkup service provides SNG’s industry-leading digital economy metrics and data collection tools for localities considering broadband and digital infrastructure projects. The service is designed to be a practical and cost-effective way for localities to see if there is an addressable market by gathering demand data directly from residents, businesses, and organizations. We help localities answer the question – do we have enough demand for a broadband investment?
Outcome: Understand the gaps and opportunities for broadband use in your market, understand the current state of broadband use and needs in your market, identify actual and potential demand for services across market segments, and assess the potential for driving demand for services and increasing revenues.
Economic feasibility assessment of community benefits from investing in broadband, digital infrastructure, and smart community initiatives – do benefits outweigh costs? If yes, community investments can be self-financed.
Outcome: Data points for every decision the community must make, and clarity on the economic case for investing in digital infrastructure – all while saving them time and money over the traditional broadband feasibility approaches that are typically taken and often fall short of meeting all the needs.
Community Readiness – are local stakeholders bought-in and is the community ready to take-on broadband and smart city initiatives? If not, what are the gaps that need to be addressed?
Outcome: Control over the process through assessment of readiness and buy-in of local stakeholders, along with priorities for broadband and smart city initiatives
Current state of broadband and market demand assessment to understand how residents and businesses are connected, using and benefiting from broadband – as well as capturing demand and sign-ups for new services.
Outcome: Empirical evidence base on whether residents and businesses are getting the broadband they are paying for – and the level of broadband and value-added they want and need
Community infrastructure and technology assets assessment and planning – What do we have? What do we need? Uses market data from current state of broadband assessment for prioritizing and scaling implementation.
Outcome: Investment cost, partner definition, system design and engineering, operations and maintenance plans, organizational structure, business planning, etc. that will provide the community the platform for digital transformation and innovation
Financing for the digital infrastructure, including self-financing options (e.g. Broadband Improvement Districts) and other sources, and contracting of firms to implement.
Outcome: With benefits outweighing costs, stakeholder and community buy-in, market demand assessment, the community can make a case for moving forward and financing as a solid community investment.
Once the digital infrastructure is in place community benefits are achieved through driving adoption and utilization of the digital infrastructure and online applications by engaging local businesses, organizations and households.
Outcome: Community benefits are realized from the use of technology and digital infrastructure. With a process to drive adoption and use, the community ensures benefits will be realized and quicker pay-off of the digital infrastructure investment.
Once the digital infrastructure is in place and efforts made to drive utilization, how will you know that those investments are achieving the desired outcomes? With the right metrics and tools to measure outcomes and community impacts on an ongoing basis, you can track progress towards goals, as well as make necessary adjustments.
Outcome: Documented outcomes and community impacts from the digital initiatives reinforce the value of investments, solidify community buy-in, and increase the ability to optimize ongoing plans and target evolving outcomes based on empirical data.
For more information about tools that can help your community, please see how SNG analytics works for you.