CONCORD — Survey results from three Granite State groups have highlighted the need for reliable high-speed broadband service to meet current and future needs of businesses throughout New Hampshire.
The groups — Live Free and Start, a state initiative that seeks to make New Hampshire a better place for innovative companies to start, grow and succeed; the NH Broadband Mapping and Planning Program at the University of New Hampshire, and the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development at the Department of Business and Economic Affairs — included the results in the 2018 Broadband Survey of New Hampshire Businesses prepared by the UNH Survey Center.
Access to broadband has become increasingly important for the conduct of daily activities. Broadband is not only critical for businesses to communicate with customers and staff and market their products and services, it is also crucial for the delivery of health care and education, efficient government operations and public safety.
The survey collected data from businesses across the state on various characteristics of their primary business, their current broadband access, and their expected future broadband requirements. The results will be used to help inform economic development planning efforts and to assist public policymakers as they work to enhance and remove barriers to the availability, adoption and affordability of broadband throughout New Hampshire.
Key findings in the survey include:
99 percent agree that high-speed internet (broadband) is important to their primary business current needs today.
83 percent say that high-speed broadband will be become more important to their business in the next 5 to 10 years.
While 91 percent use the internet for communications with staff and customers, 74 percent utilize the internet for marketing, advertising, and social media, 70 percent use the internet for downloading large files, 49 percent are utilizing cloud-based services, and 29 percent provide wifi for public use.
55 percent of respondents say their internet access speed is sufficient for their primary business needs today.
29 percent of the responding businesses are home-based and unable to secure services to fit their needs because of availability and/or cost.
74 percent of businesses say it is important for employees be able to work from home, with 29 percent saying that all their employees work from home some hours every month, and 44 percent of businesses say that faster and more reliable internet would allow for more employees to work from home.
The survey was completed in two phases in late 2017 and early 2018. The full survey results are posted at http://iwantbroadbandnh.org.