Let the Numbers do the Talking – Economic Benefits of Broadband in Alaska

By    April 18, 2014

The economic benefits of broadband intrinsically make sense to many of us, yet what is the true measure?  Each community is different, and thus, connectivity fulfills its unique needs.

Last fall, Alaska published a statewide report on the benefits its Broadband Task Force recorded, which calls out the economic benefits and environmental impact of broadband access in its communities.

The report was commissioned by the Task Force, the University of Alaska, Anchorage’s Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) and “found that broadband infrastructure appears to reduce costs, increase market access, and lead to job creation and growth in total employment”.  Below are some excerpts of the report findings:

–  Approximately 21,000 households in Alaska are under-served with sufficient Broadband coverage.

–  Economic impact projections based on most recent demographic and employment numbers from the 2011 Census show that a 1 percentage increase in broadband adoption could result in growing the Alaska economy by $67.7 million.

–  Other benefits would include:

  • 1,890 jobs saved or created
  • $49,184,413 in direct annual income growth
  • $221,743 in average annual health care costs saved
  • $2,536,553 in average annual mileage costs saved
  • 1,256,220 in average annual hours saved
  • $15,715,316 in annual value of hours saved
  • 3,276,906 in average annual pounds of CO2 emissions cut
  • $19,933 in average annual value saved by carbon offsets

If you are someone like me who has had regular access to the Internet for some time, the benefits as outlined in Alaska’s report can be hard to see or recognize on a regular basis. The numbers prove that broadband access has far-reaching effects with clear benefits to citizens who also may not realize that the statewide economic boost they are witnessing, or the cleaner air they are breathing, is tied to reliable Internet access.

Not every community will realize these exact benefits, which is the beauty of Connecting the Unconnected™ – each community will discover unique usages as its citizens come online, and derive life-changing benefits farther down the line. In future blog posts, I’ll share what we've been seeing in the global communities connected by Cambium products, and reveal how this connectivity has lead to sustainable economic change and job creation.

For more about Broadband in Alaska, download the full report.