Broadband Growth Drives Commerce and Innovation in Illinois
Think about how much your company relies on high-speed broadband internet connection in the everyday operations of your business. If you’ve been operating with high-speed internet access for some time, the thought of trying to share data, collaborate, support new technologies and conduct business in the workplace with dial-up internet is probably terrifying to you.
The May issue of the Illinois Innovation Index examines the link between broadband access and economic growth, specifically in the state of Illinois. According to the Index, deployment of broadband connections is a strong indicator of a state’s economic climate, and while Illinois’ broadband deployment and adoption have kept up with the national pace, there is substantial room for improvement in both speed and availability.
Chicago’s broadband adoptions numbers are on par with the state as a whole, increasing from 61 percent in 2009 to 68 percent in 2012. The top five states in the country come in between 75 and 80 percent of adoption in total households, while Illinois lags behind them at 69 percent.
Broadband adoption by Illinois businesses has a grown at a more rapid rate – subscribers rose 14 percent between 2008 and 2010, which is more than double the national median growth rate during that time. The average internet speed for businesses in Illinois equals the national median. According to the Index, this suggests that Illinois businesses are increasingly using the Internet to support commerce, research, and innovation, but a higher average speed will be needed to significantly increase innovation across a variety of industries.
The Index states that the relatively low cost of mobile technologies has helped improved broadband connections over smartphones and tablets in recent years. As mobile broadband adoption continues to grow, particularly in Chicago’s blossoming tech community, there will be an opportunity for startups and entrepreneurs to utilize these emerging technologies to increase innovation in the future.
Click here to view the full issue of the Illinois Innovation Index.