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Where do we start if we understand we need fiber?
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Fiber & Economic Development

Fiber is now a check-off for new businesses

 

Many communities look at fiber deployment as a tool for economic development. Because of the many factors that play into the business health of a given area, it is hard to find an exact measure for the economic impact of a fiber network. However, a MIT study did just that and quantified it to broadband adding 1% to 1.4% more jobs. 

Beyond the documented impact of broadband on economic development, our company has seen many examples that offer strong support to the idea that a city or area-wide fiber network can play a key role in economic development.

Palm Coast, Florida which began fiber services in 2010, was able to retain its largest employer because of its new fiber.

Danville, Virginia  which struggled after the collapse of its manufacturing economy was able to attract the only super computer outside of a government research lab with its fiber project.

Wilson, North Carolina has reported a number of small startup companies moving from North Carolina's Research Triangle to Wilson to take advantage of the city's Greenlight project which delivers very competitive fiber services to over 6,000 customers.

Lafayette, Louisiana's  community-owned fiber network helped make the city the home of the world's first 3D data visualization facility that has become a "magnet for technology-based business" including Pixel Magic which has its headquarters in Los Angeles.

Cedar Falls, Iowa grew its business base in just a few years from 115 businesses to 140 after going forward with a fiber network.

Results have also been very positive out west.  Powell, Wyoming attracted both Eleutian Technology and ReSource, Inc. after installing a fiber network.

Beyond attracting new businesses, a 2014 report, Understanding The Debate Over Government-Owned Fiber Networks, states the following:

"…nDanville has been consistently profitable and contributes hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to the city’s general fund."

With the potential to attract new business to your area and have another general fund revenue stream perhaps there is just one last consideration.  How do you want to be presented to businesses looking to locate in your area?

The days of winning a new business with a "central and convenient location, high quality of life, low cost of living and a skilled workforce" are gone.  An article in Site Selection, The Magazine of Corporate Real Estate Strategy & Area Economic Development, suggests the following:

"Corporate site selectors expect broadband. It is not a perk or special benefit. For communities, it is a critical piece of infrastructure for attracting new capital investment. Specifically, a company is likely to require a direct fiber connection and redundancy. …Locations with inadequate connectivity are quickly passed over for projects requiring broadband. Communities lacking broadband infrastructure make the process of elimination easier for investment decision-makers and influencers…"

Our experience, including current projects in Virginia, New Hampshire, the Caribbean, British Columbia, Minnesota, Montana, Missouri, Massachusetts, and Illinois shows you can expect not only future economic development but also an immediate economic benefit from decreased telecommunications costs as soon as you announce your fiber project. It is estimated that customers in Lafayette saved nearly $4M in deferred rate increases once their fiber project was announced. Customers in Wilson were regularly being offered packages at $99 a month that were only available at $180 per month in other locations. Incumbent providers know that fiber means more competition and the days of charging what the market will bear are over.

To begin your area's journey to a more secure economic development future, call me today at 540-552-2150.

David Sobotta
Vice President of Marketing
WideOpen Networks
dsobotta@wideopennetworks.us
540-552-2150
www.wideopennetworks.us


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