IMPACT 20/20 Completes Study on Business Broadband Use

December 5, 2013: The IMPACT 20/20 Taskforce for Broadband released a study on business broadband use within northwest Minnesota.  There were two reasons the taskforce felt the study was important: (1) they wanted a better understanding of the role broadband is currently playing among the region’s businesses; and (2) they wanted to identify best practices currently being used, and subsequently, to share those best practices with the broader business community.


There were several findings that emerged from the study.  Chief among them were the following:

* Social media tools—especially Facebook and YouTube—can be an extremely effective means of growing the customer base of a business.
 
* Businesses who use broadband tools are increasing their customers, increasing the scope of their market, increasing their efficiency, and increasing their profits.
 
* The cost-benefit ratio of using broadband appears to be very high in terms of the amount of time and money invested and the perceived return on investment
 
* The cost-benefit ratio of using broadband appears to be very high in terms of the amount of time and money invested and the perceived return on investment.
 
  • In sharing these findings, the hope of the taskforce is that individual businesses within the region will be inspired to try new methods that others have found to be effective and that policy makers will be reminded of the important role broadband plays in northwest Minnesota’s rural economy.

Download a full copy of the study.

 

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A study of business broadband use in northwest minnesota

Download a copy of IMPACT 20/20's Business Broadband Study


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A Focus on High-Speed Internet Access

The broadband initiative was adopted in response to the findings of a Regional Competitiveness Assessment that was prepared for the IMPACT 20/20 Core Team, using the results of extensive face-to-face interviews conducted with all 24 members by an independent consultant, as well as corroborating statistical data. 

The Infrastructure Taskforce proposes two goals--one relating to the use of the Universal Service Fund to support broadband and one relating directly to specific broadband speeds within communities.

GOAL 1

The Federal Universal Service Fund (USF) will be expanded to recognize the inclusion of broadband service within five years. The goals of the USF are to:

  • 1. Promote the availability of quality service at just, reasonable and affordable rates.
    2. Increase access to advanced telecommunications services throughout the nation.
    3. Advance the availability of such services to all consumers, including those in low-income, rural, insular, and high-cost areas at rates that are reasonably comparable to those charged in urban areas.

BENCHMARKS

  • 1. Within 18 months, the FCC Broadband Policy will reflect USF support for broadband, including high-cost provider support and end-user support.
    2. Within two years, congressional delegations of North Dakota and Minnesota will publicly agree to support pertinent legislation.
    3. A minimum of four articles per year will appear in area newspapers supporting USF.
    4. Legislation will be introduced and passed in Congress that supports the expansion of USF by 2013.

GOAL 2

All communities in the region of 500 residents or more will have business-grade broadband access of speeds greater than 20/10 within five years.  All residents of the region will have access to broadband speeds of 10/5 within the same time period.

BENCHMARKS

  • 1. 50% of communities greater than 500 will have 20/10 access within three years.
    2. 75% of communities greater than 500 will have 20/10 access within four years.