Better Broadband Associated With Better Business
Sarah Jacoby Nov. 25, 2013, 9 a.m.
If you want to build a better business, a new report hints that the secret may be in your broadband. The study suggests superfast broadband speeds created more jobs and grew faster than they had before the upgrade.
The study from Plymouth University surveyed 88 businesses in Cornwall that had upgraded to BT’s superfast fiber broadband service at least 12 months ago. Compared to its old broadband setup, more than 80 percent of those businesses reported that they were now saving a significant amount of money, more than a third said they had generated more sales, and more than a quarter said the faster broadband had directly contributed to creating new connections and trade internationally.
Neelie Kroes, vice president of the European Commission, which provided much of the funding for the Cornwall project, told The Telegraph, “The research has real international significance, because it starts to vindicate what we’ve said all along, that fiber broadband will energize our economy, generate jobs and save public money.”
Taken together, those results do suggest that the upgrade in Cornwall was beneficial for most of those businesses. Considering this improved Internet speeds from as slow as 500Kbps in some areas to as fast as 300Mbps, that might not be too surprising.
But the results may actually be more complicated than that. Improving broadband could just be the price of doing business today, points out Techworld. And, it adds, the businesses sampled really only represent 11.8 percent of the businesses in Cornwall, making it difficult to decipher whether or not this is an accurate sample.
Faster Internet speeds have already been linked to higher household incomes, so this wouldn’t be too far out of left field if actually true. But it will take a larger-scale study in the U.S. to know for sure.