Statewide survey estimates nearly 6,000 Alaska businesses remain unconnected
Anchorage, Alaska — A new report by Connect Alaska reveals that even in today’s wired world, there is still much work to be done to connect Alaska businesses to the global economy. The newly released Business Technology Assessment study took an in-depth look at broadband use across all sectors of the state’s economy and found that an estimated 5,562 Alaska businesses remain unconnected to broadband technology.
The survey found that:
•Alaska businesses with high-speed Internet connections report having median annual revenues that are $100,000 greater than businesses without broadband;
•28 percent of all businesses – and 31 percent of small businesses with fewer than five employees – do not use broadband for their daily business needs;
•Alaska businesses pay a median monthly price of $74.62 for broadband service; and,
•Approximately 5,000 Alaska businesses allow their employees to telework, reducing the number of miles that employees are forced to commute and allowing businesses to remain operational in the event of inclement weather.
Connect Alaska is a statewide public-private partnership working on broadband expansion under a federal grant administered by the state Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development (DCCED). The department recently established a statewide broadband task force to create a plan for Alaska’s future broadband deployment, as well as to accelerate the availability of affordable broadband technology throughout the state.
“Findings from this survey help to illustrate the correlation between high-speed Internet adoption and a business’s bottom line,” said DCCED Commissioner Susan Bell. “This will help the task force in its efforts to create a statewide plan for the future and more economic opportunity for Alaska businesses and families.”
The Business Technology Assessment, and its interactive application on the Connect Alaska website (www.connectak.org), reveals how technology is being used by Alaska businesses and where gaps remain. The assessment is designed to measure business technology adoption and the awareness of available broadband service and establish benchmarks for these metrics.
“In the digital economy, businesses must embrace broadband and other transformative technologies like it in order to survive,” said Brian Mefford, CEO of Connected Nation, Connect Alaska’s parent organization. “The Internet is driving products and services to the marketplace in an environment where creativity and innovation are both reinforced and rewarded.”
The Connect Alaska program has developed a statewide broadband inventory map, which was incorporated into the National Broadband Map unveiled in February. Funding for Connect Alaska and the broadband initiative are part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and is administered by the National Telecommunications and Information Agency (NTIA) under the State Broadband Data and Development (SBDD) grant program. For more information about what DCCED and Connect Alaska are doing to accelerate technology in Alaska’s communities, please visit: www.connectak.org.
The Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development works to create economic opportunity to promote a healthy economy and strong communities in Alaska. This is accomplished through six divisions and six corporate agencies and a staff of more than 500 people in seven statewide offices with a focus on: economic development, sustainable energy, strong communities, and consumer protection.
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