Rural Businesses and the Impact of the Digital Divide
Lack of broadband Internet access limits growth opportunities for rural businesses throughout the nation. This lack of Internet access is termed the digital divide, by the federal government, and refers to the gap in high speed Internet availability between different socioeconomic brackets, age groups, race, physical disabilities and geographical regions.
For businesses, geography makes a huge impact because those located in urban areas have a variety of different high speed Internet options to choose from while those in rural areas do not. Without access to high speed Internet, opportunities for businesses vary greatly today, creating a disconnect between the growth of urban and rural businesses.
Efficiencies are Decreased
Every business is different. However, they all stand to benefit from efficiencies that can be created online. This can include streamlined billing procedures, accounting tools, data storage, outsourcing of tasks, efficient sourcing of needed materials, project management and much more. Rural businesses without high speed Internet access are stifled in their attempts at efficiencies, because in order to avail of these opportunities, you need an always-on, dependable high speed Internet connection.
Lack of Tech Skills in Employees
Rural businesses are primarily staffed by rural employees, who like businesses in the area, have limited access to rural broadband services. Many of today’s technological advances rely on a high speed Internet connection. Because these employees are unfamiliar with technology and Internet use, or may only be used to high speed connections via a smartphone, their productivity is lower than it would be for a tech savvy employee.
Shortage of Marketing Options
Lack of access to online marketing opportunities stifles the rural business’s options for growth. Today’s businesses that have adopted strategic online marketing strategies have found that their marketing costs have dropped and results have increased. The rural company without high speed Internet is missing out on the effective and efficient use of social networking and targeted online marketing that delivers results.
The Solution for Rural Businesses
No matter the size of the business, there are efficiencies and improved opportunities awaiting online. For that reason, it makes sense to seek out solutions to the need for high speed Internet. According to the White House’s June 2013 Broadband Growth Report, broadband Internet speeds are those delivered at 3 Mbps for downloads. However, it also states that speeds of 10 Mbps downstream respond better to the needs of today’s Internet.
Luckily, there are high speed Internet services available that deliver such speeds to every area of the country. Even if cable and fiber providers have ignored rural businesses and DSL providers can’t deliver on the needed speeds, high speed satellite broadband service like those from Blue Fire Broadband ensure that rural companies have what they need. Today, rural businesses throughout the nation have the option to close their own digital divide by getting satellite Internet service for business and enjoying the opportunities fast Internet brings.