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Opportunities For Disadvantaged Businesses

October 6th, 2009 by Matt Warner

Matt Warner OISmall and disadvantaged businesses (SDBs) - small entities and women- and minority-owned businesses-employ millions of Americans and produce goods that often shape the identity of our nation's localities.  Broadband can do much for SDBs.  For instance, on Amazon, eBay, and their own respective web sites, SDBs can upload bandwidth-hungry images and video that can help them sell their products internationally.  And, using Monster.com, businesses can find the right person for the job by quickly sifting through a large pool of resumes.  We know that finding buyers and new hires are made easier with the vast reach of the Internet via a broadband connection.  But there is still a lot more that we need to know.

Overall, small businesses are important to the economy, accounting for over 60% of all new jobs. And minority-owned firms are growing four times faster than all U.S. firms, accounting for over 50% of the 2 million businesses started in the U.S. Given the importance of SDBs and the impact that broadband can have on these businesses, we released a Public Notice (PN) asking questions about the impact of broadband on SDBs to that their needs are met by the National Broadband Plan.  What obstacles prevent SBDs from taking advantage of broadband technology? Lack of availability?  Cost?  Digital literacy or social and cultural considerations?  How can businesses improve their operations with broadband, especially those that don't traditionally rely on it, such as car repair, dry-cleaners, bodega owners, etc.  What data exists about the impact of broadband in job creation, productivy and more in SBDs.  If there are success stories and best practices regarding SDB broadband use, then such examples could help us share ideas to make all SDBs better while providing us with success stories that we could name and use.  If we are provided data on the economic impact of various types of broadband on SDBs, then we could better know where to dedicate resources for the fiscal health of the Nation.

Please read the PN and file comments using either ECFS Express or our standard submission page if you need to attach a file.  Please note that your comments are responding to Public Notice #9.

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