A report to Congress released by the Small Business Administration this week tells us something that makes sense: broadband makes small businesses more productive, which leads to more jobs and greater economic growth. One study cited by the report calculates growth in broadband penetration over a two-year period created about 300,000 jobs.
The report also raises some problems we are familiar with: broadband is less available to rural businesses, and when it is available, it can cost more. Small businesses everywhere want lower prices and increased value.
Happily, the report proposes a solution that we are not only familiar with but that we wrote: the National Broadband Plan. To quote, the report recommends that policymakers “Stay the course on national broadband planning and implementation of the FCC’s National Broadband Plan.”
We’re not just staying the course. We’re moving full speed ahead. Here are a few examples of how we have advanced the small business broadband agenda detailed in our National Broadband Plan:
- Launching with SBA a public-private partnership to help accelerate small business growth through the use of broadband technologies.
- Examining the market for business broadband services to determine the status of competition and whether our policies in this area can be improved.
- Beginning reform of the Universal Service Fund to help provide broadband in areas where it’s lacking.
- Revising our rules governing access to infrastructure like utility poles to remove barriers to deploying broadband networks.
- Clearing more spectrum to unleash wireless broadband.
- Launching our data innovation initiative that will enable consumers and businesses alike to get more information about the broadband options available in their communities.
Broadband leads to small business growth and jobs, and as the SBA report notes, the National Broadband Plan is the roadmap for reaching our broadband goals.