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Wide-spread adoptionof affordable high-speed Internet can be a key tool to rejuvenate laggingeconomies and sustain state commerce. It is estimated that widespread adoption of high-speed Internet will add$134billion to the U.S. economy annually and create 1.2 million new jobs per year. Further, high-speed Internet can be keyto drawing new businesses to an area, no matter how remote or small. As evidence of the impact of high-speedInternet on individual communities, a recentstudy foundthat for every 1% point increase in state high-speed Internet penetration,employment is projected to increase by 0.2% to 0.3%. Further, the availability of high-speed Internet incommunities added over a 0.5% increasein the growth of business establishments.

 

The following are a few programsworking to leverage this economic benefit from high-speed Internet:

  • One of the most successful programs in using technology to spur economic development has been the e-NC Authority. By investing in long-term projects related to high-speed Internet build-out and adoption, the program aims to create communities that can sustain high-value jobs and a greater quality of life through the creation of wealth on a local level. This includes grants for seven e-NC Business and Technology Telecenters, which serve as small business resource centers, providing business start-up counseling, low-cost office space and technological resources, in economically-distressed communities.
  • Cedar Falls, Iowa saw an economic revitalization after building a municipal high-speed Internet network. A report by the Telecommunications Coordinator Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities stated, “[O]ne can not disregard the direct link between the “Dawn of a New Age” and the City’s ability to meet the increasing demand for access and dissemination of information... [o]ne of the best first steps toward acquiring economic well-being is to ensure that you have quality infrastructure including a first class high-speed Internet network.”
  • In Bristol Virginia, two technology companies, CGI-AMS Inc. and Northrop Grumman Corp., built data centers in nearby Russell County that will create 1,500 good-paying jobs. They were attracted in part by the availability of OptiNet, an 800-mile fiber-optic network operated by Bristol Virginia Utilities (BVU).
  • Lake County— a small county in central Florida — began generally offering private businesses and municipal institutions access to one of Florida’s most extensive, municipally-owned high-speed Internet networks, with fiber optic connections to hospitals, doctor offices, private businesses, and 44 schools. Since the opening of their municipal network, Lake County has experienced approximately 100% greater growth in economic activity—relative to comparable Florida counties.

Resources:
MIT/Carnegienational study "strongly" suggests connection between broadband andjob growth
Communications Workers of America - SpeedMatters, Affordable High Speed Internet for All
Connected Nation - TheEconomic Impact of Stimulating High-speed Internet Nationally
S.E. Gillett, W.H. Lehr, C.A. Osorio - Measuring High-speedInternet’s Economic Impact
R.W. Crandall and C.L. Jackson - The$500 Billion Opportunity: ThePotential Economic Benefit of Widespread Diffusion of High-speed Internet Access
Educause White Paper -
ABlueprint for Big Broadband
Black & Veatch - A Study of theEconomic and Community Benefits of Cedar Falls, Iowa’s MunicipalTelecommunications Network
VirginiaBusiness - BristolVirginia Utilities fiber network is revitalizing SW VirginiaBristol Virgini
Christian ScienceMonitor - High-Tech BringsRural Towns Back to Life
The Baller Herbst Law Group - Capturing thePromise of Broadband for North Carolina and America