Nebraska has released the results of its most recent broadband study which shows that access to reliable high-speed internet is directly responsible for job creation and private sector profit generation in the state. According to the report, Nebraska businesses no longer see broadband Internet service as a luxury, but as a key to economic success and future growth.
A survey was sent last fall to 10,000 businesses, and results are based on 1,124 responses. Lt. Gov. Heidemann, chairman of the Nebraska Information Technology Commission, explained the state was seeking feedback from businesses on use of Internet technology so that it can identify areas for improvement. The survey was conducted by Strategic Networks Group, a group of broadband economists, for the Nebraska Broadband Initiative, a partnership of the Nebraska Public Service Commission, 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.
Respondents reported a net increase of 654 jobs due to using the Internet. Over 50% of net jobs reported by respondents were attributed to use of the Internet. Additionally, broadband use is also having a positive impact on business revenue with respondents reporting 25-45% of revenue from the Internet. The results are notable as there are some early efforts to potentially undermine this growth. CivSource previously reported on a city council resolution in Nebraska City that would limit municipal broadband which can be an important means of maintaining momentum around broadband expansion, even while major local hubs like Omaha ramp up.
The survey also shows that broadband use increases with employment size. The two business areas with the lowest current use – service delivery and rich media content – have the highest level of planned use in the future. Additionally, the findings show that businesses believe access to and effective use of the Internet has become an essential element in the survival and success of businesses in today’s economy.
Use of broadband services is very high across all types and locations of businesses. Nearly all responding businesses have broadband access, with cable (29%), DSL (24%) and fiber (19%) as the predominant technologies, but approximately a quarter still lack broadband-level connections in at least one direction. The speed and quality of a business’s Internet connection strongly impacts its use of the Internet.
“Nebraska businesses see high-speed Internet as more than a way to do business,” said Lt. Gov. Heidemann, “they also see it as a way to present themselves to the world as on top of technology, a way to improve internal operations, and a way to help create jobs.”