The Nebraska Information Technology Commission, is inviting local businesses to participate in a new project through the Nebraska Broadband Initiative. The initiative is launching a statewide survey and scorecard in early September to help the state’s businesses increase their economic vitality by better utilizing broadband technologies.
Over the next few months, businesses will be asked to conduct an online assessment of their use of broadband technologies. The survey results will provide valuable information on broadband usage by Nebraska businesses and will allow for a comparison of business broadband usage and impacts with peers nationwide.
The mapping component of the project is led by the Nebraska Public Service Commission in partnership with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Nebraska Information Technology Commission, Nebraska Department of Economic Development and AIM Institute. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the Nebraska Department of Economic Development are leading the business survey project.
Businesses that qualify may receive additional training or broadband support. The project reflects the recent and rapid growth of broadband in the state, however, much of that seems to be concentrated around major hubs. CivSource previously reported on the growing divide in local broadband access. Gigabit providers are lining up around Omaha, a large and growing city and metro area, while smaller towns like Nebraska City recently agreed to a local ordinance that actually rolled back broadband speed requirements and cut municipal broadband networks from the list of options. These divisions highlight similar ones in other states with large rural populations, and could signal an entrenched trend even though rural demand for high speed broadband access continues to climb.