Last week, Hanns Kuttner of the Hudson Institute released new research suggesting that the job creating powers of expanded rural broadband access extend far beyond just the jobs created by construction of a network. Kuttner estimates that the rural broadband industry supported 70,000 jobs in 2015—both for companies that provide broadband service and companies whose livelihoods are based on access to it.
In Ohio, all anecdotal evidence suggests that this trend holds true in our state. From opening up online, e-commerce markets to traditional businesses to high-tech apps being developed in local areas, rural broadband access is vital to Ohio’s economy.
Nationally, the study found that rural broadband supported more than $100 billion of e-commerce activity in 2015 alone. Much of that impact came from sales and transfers of data in the manufacturing industry, which has an outsized impact on our local economy. Read more on the study and its major findings below:
“This study estimates the direct and indirect economic effects of the rural telecommunications, or broadband, industry on Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It then examines the economic impact of rural broadband on other industries. Rural broadband services are a necessary input in an economy where the ability to complete a transaction electronically has become indispensable. The economic impact would be greater if broadband was more widespread and as available in rural areas as it is in urban areas. Another economic impact is economic activity foregone because telecommunications capability in some rural areas is below that in urban areas.”