When it comes to site selection, utility service is heavily scrutinized. Locations are routinely eliminated due to issues with lack of electricity, gas, water, etc. Now that technology has become so advanced, the Internet is extremely important to economic development and site selection. Broadband is now considered by many to be a utility. The availability, quality, and competitiveness of broadband service have become and will continue to be a key issue for many locations.
Broadband service connects businesses and individuals to the global marketplace. We can communicate and collaborate in ways never before possible. People want to live where there is broadband service. It has become an essential quality-of-life amenity for many. Broadband allows for a more flexible lifestyle by providing greater access to education through distance learning programs or remote employment.
Corporate site selectors expect broadband as it is a critical piece of infrastructure for attracting new capital investment. Locations with inadequate connectivity are quickly passed over for projects requiring broadband. Merely having broadband likely places a location on a level playing field with other communities. From the site selection consultant’s perspective, broadband is essential. Lack of access to broadband would be a huge negative in a competitive location search.
Speedmatters.org says that for each $5 billion in new broadband investment, 250,000 jobs are created. Various econometric analyses have demonstrated a positive correlation between broadband and economic growth, and its importance in the site selection process with not diminish. The statistics no longer suggest, but indisputably assert, that high-speed Internet has become a key economic development tool and private sector job creation vehicle.
So compelling is the web as a business resource that modern commerce simply cannot function without it. Communities lagging behind in broadband are at an ever more competitive disadvantage. Not only will companies find themselves at a competitive disadvantage, but communities that fail to invest in their communications infrastructure may discover that their economic development initiatives are destined for a similar fate.