Media Briefing on Broadband & Mobility

November 23, 2008

New Survey Shows Muni Networks Impact Economic Development

Filed under: Municipal broadband — Craig Settles @ 10:24 pm

Nov 21st I launched my 2008 national survey of economic development professionals to gauge their assessment of the impact of municipal wireless and wired networks on economic development, and early results are in. I will present a final report to the technology policy group of President-elect Obama’s transition team in mid-December, and also make it available to the general public. 

Sponsored for the second year by the International Economic Development Council, this year’s survey addresses three areas:

  1. the impact of citywide and regional broadband networks on economic development;
  2. the influence of wireless and wired networks that just cover commercial zones or districts within a city: and
  3. how muni or community broadband affects personal economic development and individual entrepreneurship within underserved communities. 

The survey cutoff date is December 4, but there are some interesting trends unfolding from the nearly 200 people who’ve already completed the survey. Other executives and managers of economic development organizations are encouraged to take the survey online.

Some early results

Wired municipal networks, predominately fiber, appear to have the edge over wireless networks in improving local economic development. This is true both for the value that professionals have observed in areas where networks are in place, and the value survey respondents expect to see in areas where these networks have yet to be built.

  • 19% of cities and counties of those surveyed have wired networks that businesses can access, as compared to 3% whose areas have wireless networks.
  • 7% of survey respondents say their cities or counties are currently building a wireless network and an equal percentage says wired networks are being built in their areas.
  • 41% of respondents believe their wired networks have directly or indirectly enticed new businesses into the area, while 31% of those with wireless networks feel the same.
  • 45% with wired networks believe these directly or indirectly influence businesses to stay, and 34% feel this way about their wireless network.
  • 42% believe wired networks help their local businesses be more competitive, and 25% believe the same about their wireless networks.
  • An almost equal number of survey respondents believe their wired (22%) and wireless (20%) networks will revitalize depressed business areas.

Keep an eye on my blog in December for the complete survey results and my analysis of the personal as well as business economic development changes muni networks can stimulate. In the meantime, you can get a copy of last year’s survey report.


1 Comment »

  1. Hi Craig,

    Excellent topic!!! I’m the chief architect with Jefferson County, Colorado. The State of Colorado (Office of Information Technology) just had their second annual broadband meeting held at Level 3, Broomfield. Participants includes private and public entities. The State of Colorado is looking an a statewide inventory of where broadband is available and not. Hopefully, the data will be available sometime in the next several years.

    On the local front, a ten city consortium has explored the concept of wireless deployment. Significant impacts to the deployment of wireless is funding and finding a vendor who is willing to participate. Public models face the challenges of the constant change of standards (80211.n) and challenges of having taxpayers fund efforts going forward.

    Communities who invest NOW on telecommunication infrastructure will have an economic advantage. The IPTV market is from 2008-2012 is projected to expand 26 fold to a multi-billion market (ref: Investors Business Daily)
    (ie.. web conferencing, vidoe streaming, web 2.0 social collaboration tools)

    I look forward to seeing the results.

    Jim Lindauer

    Comment by Jim Lindauer — November 26, 2008 @ 8:06 am | Reply

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