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The Impact of Rural Broadband on Small Business

May 22, 2017

It seems that high-speed internet is everywhere these days, with Wi-Fi hotspots open at every coffee shop and restaurant in town. Unfortunately, while this may be the reality for urban and suburban areas, there are many rural areas that are lacking the infrastructure or support for high-speed internet. Even worse, many people in these areas operate small businesses that are severely impacted from the lack of internet solutions. We proudly advocate for the expansion of rural broadband.

How Do Rural Businesses Benefit From Broadband Access?

Small businesses in rural areas benefit from broadband internet in the same ways that larger businesses do - though they may not know what they're missing. Here are just a few things that are easier with broadband internet:

  1. Saving time and money. Broadband internet is high-speed, so day-to-day tasks are conducted much faster, saving the company time and money.
  2. Forming connections. Broadband internet keeps businesses connected with customers and other businesses, offering communication techniques that aren't available any other way. For example, a rural business may rely heavily on their fax machine because they aren't able to download attachments quickly on a slow internet connection. With broadband, sending files is much easier and cost-efficient.
  3. Staying current. High-speed internet is expected in today's business world. In decades past, high-speed internet was considered "high tech," and it wasn't essential for a small business. Times have changed, however, and nearly everyone has a fast internet connection. Companies who still operate with dial-up (or no internet at all) are usually viewed as old-fashioned or outdated.
  4. Internet is crucial for digital marketing, which has almost completely replaced traditional marketing techniques. Every small business needs an online presence, and a broadband internet connection is the best way to maintain a website, keep up with social media and email marketing campaigns, and promote your brand.

Why Isn't Broadband Available Everywhere?

You may be wondering why broadband isn't available in all rural areas when it's so important for small businesses. The answer is complicated. While industry leaders and government officials recognize that broadband internet access boosts local economies, the infrastructure is difficult (and expensive) to build. Government subsidies have been offered to increase broadband coverage, but many larger internet providers turned down the subsidies. Rural areas require more infrastructure, but there are fewer customers. It's simply not an effective strategy for large companies.

That's why you'll notice smaller broadband providers popping up in rural areas. For them, rural customers are well worth the investment. If you own a small business and have been waiting for broadband, your wait may be over soon.

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