Broadband can be labeled a general purpose technology—an innovation that drives innovation as well as social and economic growth in a multitude of ways. Research shows that broadband drives growth by supporting investment in human capital, integration with complementary technologies, invention of new processes and services by end users, network openness, and local service competition.
Internet service providers increasingly face pressure to find ways of offering affordable service packages that meet the needs of the public, and particularly the needs of low-income households.
For many families, finding ways to afford broadband Internet is challenge. Affordable home Internet service may fall below the Federal Communications Commission’s high-speed standard of actual download speeds of 100 Mbps and actual upload speeds of at least 50 Mbps. Another deterrent for many American households is the cost of owning a computer.
During UC2B’s initial development, infrastructure was built and connected to nearly 220 businesses in Urbana-Champaign. UC2B began providing service to 75 of these, including thirty for which this provided their first Internet connection.
UC2B service to businesses, especially for businesses getting Internet service for the first at their operating locations, is making a difference. These businesses are now using the Internet to advertise, communicate with employees and customers, establish business-to-business relationships, and manage day-to-day operations.
As local businesses grow, new jobs are created for community residents. Broadband Internet is just one factor that can contribute to business and employment growth.
In addition contributing to job growth across Urbana-Champaign, UC2B itself directly created positions for employees to carry out planning, building, and maintenance of its network. Additional hiring also took place at vendors and contractors who worked with UC2B to implement the new network.