Economic development

Rural Wyoming business creates 700 home-based jobs with fiber

Via Broadband_Report's Twitter feed, here is an NPR story that shows the impact fiber can have in rural areas. An entrepreneurial start up business in tiny Ten Sleep, Wyoming (pop. 350) is on track to employ 700 home-based workers by the end of this year. The business? Teaching English to Koreans. Oh, and the 15,000 students are in Korea.

Where to find the next new business

Smart economic developers should start advertising California. Businesses, engineers, scientists, and other business professionals are packing up and leaving the state. Many of them will be looking for the good quality of life in small towns and fiber to the home, so they can work from home and/or run their newly relocated business from home. And fiber in your local businesses parks will help attract the bigger firms moving from California.

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New Mexico's Spaceport signs 20 year lease with Virgin Galactic

New Mexico's rise to dominance of the space industry in the U.S. may become the fodder of economic development case studies for decades. The State of New Mexico just announced that it has signed a twenty year lease of facilities at Spaceport America with Virgin Galactic. Virgin Galactic says it intends to locate its world headquarters at the facility, bringing with it jobs and tourism.

Did you know?

This short video has been around in various forms for several years. This new version has been updated with current data, and should be required viewing for all educators, economic developers, and elected leaders.

Danville, Virginia broadband report

Here is a brief video report on the broadband fiber network already in use in Danville, Virginia. The system has been operational for 10 months, and all services on the network are offered by private sector service providers (Disclaimer: Design Nine has helped Danville design and deploy the network).

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Blue Ridge Crossroads: Best place to start a business in the U.S.?

The Blue Ridge Crossroads region in southwest Virginia may be the best place to start a business in the United States, if the results they rolled out this week are any indication. Three years ago, the region's leaders started an aggressive program to diversify their economic development strategy to include more focus on entrepreneurs and business start ups.

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Jobs creation and broadband: a case study

Perhaps the most frequently asked question we receive is, "How will broadband help our local economy?"

The answer is, " ways you can't even imagine."

Broadband and the expansion of connectivity via both fiber and wireless is creating entirely new businesses and jobs that simply don't appear in the strategic plans of most economic development agencies.

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9% of workforce already working from home

A new study out from Forrester says 9% of the workforce is already working from home for their employer, and another 22.8 million are running their own businesses out of their home. This adds up to a major demographic that is turning neighborhoods into business districts.

Did quality of life win Volkswagen to Chattanooga?

According to Suzanne Morse, a long term commitment to quality of life issues in Chattanooga won the city a coveted Volkswagen manufacturing plant, which is estimated to be worth up to $1 billion in investment for the area.

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Is the global economy over?

An article I saw in the local paper about hair dryers and a blog article from local curmudgeon on the high cost of shipping furniture both suggest the same thing: we may be very near the point (or already at the point) where making everything in China and shipping 7,000 to 10,000 miles is no longer economical.

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Suburbs down, Main Street up

This article provides more data on the fast-shifting but likely permanent change in how we decide where we want to live. We are probably seeing the biggest shift in housing since the end of World War II and the rise of the suburb.

Why VPNs are important to communities

VPNs, or Virtual Private Networks, are fast becoming a major issue with respect to broadband. A VPN is a way for a remote user (e.g. from home, traveling) to be connected to the corporate or business network as if he or she was in the office. It gives the home-based worker or business traveler complete access to all the documents and services he or she would normally have sitting at their desk.

Small businesses creating more jobs

Despite high oil prices, small businesses created 61,000 jobs in May. Too many communities discount small businesses in their economic development strategy, and fail to include small businesses needs in their broadband planning. Big industrial companies get lots of attention, but those firms are the ones shedding jobs. Fast, nimble small firms can adapt more easily to changing economic conditions and changing customers needs.

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Broadband Properties '08: Ft. Wayne leverages fiber

Graham Richards, the former Mayor of Ft. Wayne, Indiana, spoke at the Broadband Properties Summit about why Ft. Wayne pushed fiber to the home. Some of the services and benefits included:

A green affordable housing initiative cut monthly energy costs for lower income families, and the broadband network was used to monitor energy use.

The network enabled live video monitoring of latchkey children whose parents had to work. Parents could have high quality video chats with their children as soon as they arrived home in the afternoon.

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Broadband Properties '08: Fiber is part of the ED toolkit

Dan Rogers, President of the Kendall County, Texas Economic Development Corporation, just spoke at the Broadband Properties Summit here in Dallas-Fort Worth. Kendall County is a rural area between Austin and San Antonio, and is part of the Texas Hill Country--a beautiful area of mostly very small towns.

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Find your spot

Find Your Spot is an online relocation service that helps business owners and prospective employees find a place to live that matches personal preferences like the weather, arts & culture, recreation, education, the cost of living, health care, and the local economy.

Here is a key quote from the FAQ portion of the site:

Best small places to live and to work

In a just released Forbes survey, Blacksburg, Virginia is ranked tenth in the nation as one of the best small places to live and to work. If you live in a small community, it is worth spending some time reviewing the Forbes study. Of the nine factors they use to rank communities, four of the nine are related directly to quality of life. These factors are Culture and Leisure, Crime Rate, Educational Attainment, and Cost of Living.

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Fiber pulls relocating businesses

This article [link no longer available] from a rural update New York paper illustrates the power of fiber. The Adirondack region of upstate New York has a regional community fiber backbone that is pulling companies to the region--a region that would not give a second thought without the community fiber.

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One million dollars an hour

There are still a lot of community leaders who doubt the importance of broadband, but one city official I spoke to earlier this week said they had a Fortune 500 company that told him the firm loses a million dollars an hour for every hour their Internet connection is down. This firm is urging the city to help get additional fiber cable paths in and out of the community so those kinds of outages can be avoided.

Reverse job fair

A group of economic development and technology organizations are holding a reverse job fair tomorrow (February 5th) in Blacksburg. A traditional job fair has employers at booths, and job seekers walk around looking for a job. In this reverse job fair, graduating students (mostly from Virginia Tech) are at tables, and the employers walk around.

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