Report: High-Speed Internet Key for Job Creation, Economic Development

Regional Broadband Data for Illinois Business Organizations, Households and Anchor Institutions Available in New Report

SNGSPRINGFIELD, Illinois, April 8, 2013 – Illinois businesses view high-speed internet as a source of job creation, an important way to present themselves to the world and as a way to improve internal operations, according to a multi-faceted report released today by Broadband Illinois.

Conducted in 2012, the study contains detailed information on the impact and utilization of high-speed internet on Illinois businesses, organizations and households in 10 multi-county regions called eTeams. A key objective of the initiative was to better understand the socio-economic impacts of broadband on communities and regions in Illinois through both qualitative and quantitative measures.

“This report offers a window into how businesses and organizations in Illinois use broadband and what they value from high-speed connectivity,” said John Horrigan, Ph.D., Research Director at Broadband Illinois and Vice President and Director at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. “The findings from the business sector show that businesses see broadband as a crucial way to connect with consumers and suppliers. Yet with greater confidence in network security and privacy, the findings also show that businesses would do more with broadband.”

Another key finding reveals that nearly 75 percent of the 7,253 Illinois businesses surveyed say broadband infrastructure is essential to remaining in their current location and nearly 50 percent of businesses surveyed said the availability of high-speed infrastructure is essential when deciding where to locate a new business. 

The report also identifies barriers to adoption and utilization of high-speed internet by the business sector, citing issues of network security and privacy concerns.

“The study underscores that broadband is a key infrastructure for Illinois businesses,” said Drew Clark, Executive Director of Broadband Illinois. “The report will help improve broadband deployment and use in the Illinois eTeam regions most in need. Working with the private sector, the report’s findings will inform how to use broadband to spur job creation throughout Illinois." 

The study was conducted by Strategic Networks Group, an organization of “broadband economists” dedicated to developing strategies for efficiently leveraging broadband investments, with the Illinois Institute of Rural Affairs engaged in outreach efforts.

Full-length reports are available for download below. The “Broadband Illinois eSolutions Benchmarking Report” provides an analysis on the utilization and impact of high-speed internet on businesses, organizations and households. The report also cites barriers and patterns and includes a sector analysis of community anchor institutions.

The “Broadband Illinois eStrategy Report” provides real-world recommendations based on the data analysis and introduces the “Digital Economy Index” tool for measuring an organization’s or household’s usage of a range of online applications.

Broadband Illinois will continue to highlight this research throughout the month of April, with upcoming articles on other key components of the reports (community anchor institutions and households). 

A statewide webinar featuring researchers at Strategic Networks Group and regional eTeam leaders is planned for May 13. More information will be posted soon on the Broadband Illinois webpage.

Download the "Broadband Illinois eSolutions Benchmarking Report" here. 

Download the "Broadband Illinois eStrategy Report" here. 

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Business & Organizations Survey Fact Sheet:

  • 7,253 businesses and organizations were surveyed in 2012.

Usage:

  • 84.8% of respondents use a website to promote their business
  • 79.1% use the internet to purchase goods or services
  • 45.9% use the internet to sell goods or services
  • 73.4% of businesses & organizations surveyed cite broadband as essential or very important to remaining in a location.
  • 50% cite broadband as essential or very important to selecting a location.

Barriers:

  • 74% of respondents said security concerns were very or somewhat important as barriers to using the Internet more in their operations.
  • 62% said privacy concerns were very or somewhat important as barriers to using the Internet more in their operations.

Benefits:  

  • 70% said the Internet improves customer service
  • 59% said it helps them reach new customers
  • 54% said it lowers operating costs
  • 53% said it increases revenues. 

About Strategic Networks Group: SNG is a group of broadband economists who develop strategies for most effectively leveraging broadband investments. SNG looks to help make the most broad-reaching and transformational impacts that broadband can bring enable businesses, communities and regions by delivering the data and analysis decision makers need to maximize broadband’s potential.   SNG’s goals: economic development, social advancement, increased productivity and competiveness. Learn more about SNG online at www.sngroup.com and discover how broadband market analytics can accelerate regional economic development.

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Tags: business, Drew Clark, economic development, John Horrigan, report, research, SNG, Strategic Networks Group, study, survey

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