CONCORD, NH – Survey results, released today by Live Free and Start, the NH Broadband Mapping & Planning Program at the University of New Hampshire (UNH), and the NH Division of Economic Development at the Department of Business and Economic Affairs, highlight the critical need for reliable, high-speed broadband for the current and future needs of businesses throughout New Hampshire. The results are included in the 2018 Broadband Survey of NH Businesses prepared by the UNH Survey Center.
New Hampshire businesses and citizens require access to broadband to conduct daily activities on an ever-increasing basis. Broadband is not only critical for businesses to communicate with customers and staff and market their products and services, it is also crucial for the delivery of health care and education, efficient government operations, and public safety.
“Broadband technology enables the citizens of our state, country and the world, to enjoy unprecedented business, economic development, and quality of life opportunities,” said University of New Hampshire Broadband Center of Excellence (BCoE) Executive Director Dr. Rouzbeh Yassini. “Like having easy access to potable water and electricity in the past, having universal and affordable broadband service is a must today,” he added.
The survey collected data from businesses across the state on various characteristics of their primary business, their current broadband access, and their expected future broadband requirements. The results will be used to help inform economic development planning efforts and to assist public policymakers as they work to enhance and remove barriers to the availability, adoption, and affordability of broadband throughout the State of New Hampshire.
Key findings in the survey include the following:
- 99% agree that high-speed internet (broadband) is important to their primary business current needs today.
- 83% say that high-speed broadband will become more important to their business in the next 5 to 10 years.
- While 91% use the internet for communications with staff and customers, 74% utilize the internet for marketing, advertising, and social media, 70% use the internet for downloading large files, 49% are utilizing cloud-based services, and 29% provide wifi for public use.
- 55% of respondents say their internet access speed is sufficient for their primary business needs today
- 29% of the responding businesses are home-based and unable to secure services to fit their needs because of availability and/or cost.
- 74% of businesses say it is important for employees to be able to work from home. 29% of businesses say all their employees work from home some hours every month and 44% of businesses say that faster and more reliable internet would allow for more employees to work from home.
“We are proud to have worked with industry and academic partners to launch the 2018 business broadband survey. Our goal was simple and straightforward, to collect data to help us better understand the needs and challenges of businesses across the state when it comes to broadband” said Liz Gray, Director of Entrepreneurship with Live Free and Start. She added, “We’re looking forward to continuing our collaboration and identifying opportunities to ensure New Hampshire businesses are able to access high speed, cost-effective and reliable broadband and remain competitive in an increasingly global economy.”
New Hampshire is a rural state that has many unique challenges to the deployment of broadband. The state is fortunate to have industry partners that have invested hundreds of millions of dollars into the infrastructure to improve availability and capacity. Despite their substantial investment, there is much more work to do to meet current and future business broadband requirements. We must continue to expand partnerships with industry and identify best practices in other states where industry, communities, non-profits, and state partners have come together to find creative cost-effective solutions to solving the broadband needs of its businesses and citizens.
The survey was completed in two phases in late 2017 and early 2018. During the first phase, UNH Survey Center purchased contact information for 5,000 randomly selected businesses from Dun & Bradstreet. For the second phase, the survey was distributed via email to a larger group comprised of the membership of NH Chambers of Commerce, as well as to members of a number of government, non-governmental and non-profit organizations. Combining both methods, 579 survey responses were received. Most of these responses were from small businesses, with businesses with 1-10 employees accounting for 65% of the responses and businesses of 11-50 employees accounting for 18% of the responses. Large businesses, with more than 50 employees, represented 17% of the total businesses surveyed.
Please visit http://iwantbroadbandnh.org to access the full survey results and a brief document presenting survey highlights. The broadband business survey was funded by the New Hampshire Telecommunications Planning and Development Advisory Committee at the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development, the New Hampshire Broadband Mapping & Planning Program at UNH, and the UNH Broadband Center of Excellence.
About the partners:
Live Free and Start is a state initiative working to make New Hampshire an even better place for innovative companies to be able to start, grow and succeed.
The NH Broadband Mapping & Planning Program at the University of New Hampshire works to inventory and monitor broadband availability in the state, and engages with communities and stakeholders to enhance broadband access, adoption, and utilization. For more information, please visit www.unh.edu/broadband/new-hampshire-broadband-mapping-planning-program
The NH Division of Economic Development is the one-stop resource for business information and assistance. The Division has resources for New Hampshire businesses looking to grow and prosper, as well as for businesses beyond our borders looking to expand or relocate. For more information, please visit www.nheconomy.comand follow @nheconomy.