By Jeff Davidson — United Communications
High-speed broadband fiber internet has become an essential utility for all Middle Tennesseans in both urban and rural areas. The need for high-speed internet has only accelerated in recent years as working from home, telehealth appointments, and distance learning all became a part of our lives. But the impact of broadband access extends far beyond the difference it makes for individual residents and families. In fact, broadband is the underpinning of some of today’s most important transformations in business activity and government services.
According to a study conducted by the Fiber-to-the-Home Council, towns with high-speed internet have significantly higher economic strength and health than towns with little to no high-speed gigabit connections. Providing broadband access to underserved areas can have an outsize impact on a local economy, especially in small towns and suburban communities.
At United Communications, we’ve laid the groundwork to help businesses and government agencies across Middle Tennessee access fiber internet. I have the pleasure of meeting local government officials each week in my role as a Broadband Ambassador at United. They share stories of the positive impacts that high-speed internet availability has brought to their lives. Here are a few specific ways that broadband has increased economic development in the communities we serve.
1. Internet Enables Businesses to Function Seamlessly
At this point in time, most of the applications that businesses use each day require a fast broadband internet connection. Managing supplies and inventory, accessing medical records, or updating
bookkeeping software all require fast and reliable internet access. Broadband has the power to spur economic growth in these areas by helping businesses function seamlessly without losing productivity due to slow internet speeds.
2. Internet Allows Businesses to Access Data Solutions to Make Smarter Decisions
Small and mid-size businesses are the backbone of many local economies. These organizations provide jobs and tax revenue to support the community, and many citizens interact with and rely on these businesses every day.
Broadband internet access allows local businesses to streamline how their workflow functions. Here are just a couple of examples:
United Communications had the privilege of equipping a local construction supply company with fiber internet. Once the switch to fiber was made, this company was able to transition its inventory management system online, saving them time and money. Because of this simple transition, not only were they able to stay in the community, but they continued to grow their business locally.
A local grocery store also switched to an online inventory system after gaining access to fiber internet. Quick upload and download speeds meant that their inventory was updated in real-time, reducing waste and creating space for the store to stock a wider variety of fresh products. Today, more people are choosing to shop there rather than driving to larger cities to purchase groceries.
3. Internet Creates Opportunities for Business Growth and Remote Work
Towns with broadband internet can give businesses and citizens the freedom to work remotely. This has become an increasingly important factor as the number of work-at-home employees has grown by 103% since 2005. Many business leaders also need high-speed internet access in their homes to stay updated on any developments, take video calls, or troubleshoot questions away from the office. Fast and reliable internet has become an essential utility as the way we work shifts.
4. Internet Powers Education
Connecting to the information economy involves more than remote work. It also involves remotely acquiring the skill sets necessary to participate in that economy.
Numerous studies have shown that higher education is an important factor in economic growth. Many colleges and universities now offer online degrees that require fast and reliable internet so that students can engage in real-time classroom discussions, watch instructional videos, and video-chat with their instructor and their classmates.
The Connection Between Broadband and Economic Development Continues to Grow
These are just a few of the ways broadband and fiber internet have a direct impact on economic development in local communities. High-speed internet access enables city infrastructure to operate more efficiently and effectively. Fiber internet also benefits economic development and vitality by creating more desirable living conditions and elevating home prices. According to studies, a fiber-to-the-home connection can raise home values by 3%.
At United Communications, we’re proud to empower thousands of people across Middle Tennessee with fiber internet solutions. We launched our Project UNITE initiative as an effort to continually expand our reach to serve more businesses and residents in our local communities and conquer the digital divide across Middle Tennessee.
If you want to learn more about United Communications or high-speed fiber access in your community, contact United Communications or visit Project UNITE today.
Broadband Ambassador of United Communications
After nearly four decades of public service, including thirty years and three combat tours in the U.S. Army, Jeff now serves his community at United Communications. As Broadband Ambassador, he carries out United Communications’ mission to provide high-speed internet to every under-connected home or business in Middle Tennessee. Jeff began his journey of broadband advocacy while serving as the former deputy mayor of Rutherford County for nine years. He has witnessed firsthand the detrimental effects of broadband disparity amongst rural communities. In 2018, he and others successfully convinced state lawmakers to lift burdensome regulations preventing internet expansion in rural communities. Jeff now resides in Eagleville, TN where he continues to provide broadband access to his community.