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Connect South Carolina’s 2013 Economic Development Survey Shows Importance of Broadband

By Jennifer Cobb

According to Connect South Carolina’s 2013 Economic Development Survey, broadband and technical skills are two very important factors considered by businesses when they look to relocate or expand.

Here are the preliminary results from the survey:

  • More than four in five site selection consultants (82%) reported businesses always, often, or sometimes ask whether a particular type of broadband is available at the proposed location.
  • Nearly three out of four site selection consultants (74%) said businesses always, often, or sometimes ask whether broadband is available at a particular speed at the proposed location.
  • Nearly three out of five site selection consultants (58%) stated businesses always, often, or sometimes ask how many broadband providers offer service at the proposed location.
  • Over one-half of site selection consultants (53%) reported businesses always, often, or sometimes ask whether high-quality residential broadband is available for employees at the proposed location.
  • Two-thirds of site selection consultants (67%) reported businesses always or often ask whether the nearby workforce already has the required technical skills at the proposed location.
  • Just over three in four site selection consultants (76%) said businesses always or often ask whether a nearby college, trade school, or university can provide employees with required technical skills through training at the proposed location.
  • 60% reported they ask broadband providers, 23% check state or local broadband availability maps provided by Connect South Carolina, and 16% review a local assessment to see which broadband providers serve the area. These are the three largest resources that economic development professionals rely on to find broadband availability.
  • Nearly two-thirds of economic development professionals (65%) consider broadband “Extremely important” (39%) or “Very important” (26%) to help a location attract new businesses.
  • More than one-third of economic development professionals reported they have such an economic development plan that includes improving broadband access, adoption, and use will help the local economy grow and prosper in their served area.
  • Nearly two-thirds of economic development professionals said a community would become more attractive to businesses if the community were certified as having high-quality broadband service and a digitally-skilled workforce.

Connect South Carolina collected this information through 70 members of the South Carolina Economic Developers’ Association. The survey results will be released publicly in the next week and posted to the Connect South Carolina website.

This survey was conducted as part of the State Broadband Initiative (SBI) grant program, funded by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. The SBI grant program was created by the Broadband Data Improvement Act, unanimously passed by Congress in 2008 and funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act  in 2009.

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