Imagine this: You own a small auto parts business in rural Montana. Your local telephone provider does not offer broadband and neither does your cable provider. The supply company where you purchase your inventory is located in New York and only takes orders via the Internet. What would you do?
This scenario is all too common for many small businesses operating in rural and underserved areas all across the United States. There is high demand for high-quality broadband access, but limited terrestrial broadband options within their communities. Unfortunately, many of these businesses conclude that broadband connectivity is a pipe dream for their businesses and attempt to run their operations on a slow dial-up connection, potentially losing thousands of dollars in profit and the ability to remain competitive in this Internet-driven society.
To be successful in today’s competitive marketplace, small businesses must be able to obtain and promptly respond to orders online, conduct research, purchase inventory, access electronic documents from suppliers, and receive large e-mail attachments with ease. To send and receive this information efficiently and quickly, small business owners need broadband access. In fact, experts say that businesses without broadband access will be left at a competitive disadvantage and run the risk of becoming disenfranchised from their customers and the marketplace. These applications are now standard fare for large, successful businesses that have been using broadband for several years.
Broadband for Everyone
In September 2005, Hughes and Survey.com commissioned a survey of 250 small businesses nationwide to gauge their knowledge of the broadband options available to them. The survey discovered that two in five (43 percent) small businesses surveyed did not know that broadband access was available to them.