Is Low-Cost Broadband Internet Coming to Oneonta, NY?
One of the lessons learned from the pandemic is how many of us take high-speed Internet for granted. While many of us have been able to continue to work or go to school remotely, this isn’t the reality for a significant number of people. The crisis has crystalized how many communities don’t have adequate access to broadband, which in turn can have far-reaching effects on a community’s long-term survival.
Why Broadband is Important For Small Town Growth
The majority of businesses are small to medium-sized, operating unsurprisingly in small to medium-sized towns and cities. One of the biggest complaints many small-town companies have is the inability to attract and retain a high-quality workforce. Moreover, many smaller towns find they are losing their younger population to larger cities.
While having a younger population leave for larger cities is a common occurrence, like most things, the pandemic is acting as an accelerant. This current crisis has accelerated the “brain-drain” small towns and rural communities had already been experiencing, kicking it into overdrive. A lack of affordable, reliable internet has been holding many people back and the pandemic only exacerbated things.
Broadband Internet is No Longer a Luxury
Back in 2015, Governor Andrew Cuomo assured New Yorkers that broadband access will be increased to a level in which 99 percent of the population would have access to it. The end result would make New York the first state with complete high-speed broadband access. Yet as the pandemic has shown, many areas still don’t have access to the broadband needed to remain productive. Some rural neighborhoods have been able to put together the funds to get local ISPs to run cable, but this process takes a lot of time and is very expensive for residents to foot the bill. The digital divide is a real thing and is preventing entire communities from reaching their full potential. This isn’t just a New York problem, the majority of states have pockets of areas with a lack of broadband and are investing resources to increase accessibility.
Then there comes the price tag. Broadband comes at a premium compared to slower, less reliable options. While a family might be able to make due with satellite or dial-up Internet, it can definitely be strained when it’s being used for work or education throughout the day, by multiple users.
In response to the digital divide and the inability for underserved communities to not only have access to broadband but to afford access when it was offered, Governor Cuomo announced the plan to require ISPs (internet service providers) to offer a $15 per month high-speed internet plan to low-income households, the first in the nation. New York State provides access to the Affordable Broadband Portal to help New Yorkers find affordable broadband programs in their area.
Does Your Business Have the Bandwidth For Your Needs?
The state of a community’s broadband can have far-reaching effects on their ability to grow their business base. This in turn affects the community’s ability to maintain their tax base and overall standard of living. Additionally, as remote working continues to allow businesses to remain productive, the lack of broadband can discourage workers (and businesses) from locating to your community. Another issue concerning broadband, particularly for businesses, is that they have sized their bandwidth for their operating needs.
It is not uncommon for many small and medium-sized businesses to have grown from a one or two-person shop. So there is a chance that their broadband service may still reflect those modest beginnings and resemble more of a homeowner and not that of a business.
This means not only do they not have enough bandwidth, but they may also be paying for a consumer-level plan with fewer features than they would with a business account. Unfortunately, many businesses may not understand how much bandwidth they need, limiting their business’ ability to serve customers and to grow their business.
When considering whether or not you need to boost your broadband, here are some areas to consider:
- Are you using VoIP?
- Is your business relying heavily on video conferencing?
- Are you considering switching from physical servers to a cloud environment?
- Is the majority of your business communication and sales done online?
In order to utilize these services, it is critical that your broadband is designed for your business’ unique needs and not using a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all template.
Are You Making The Most Out of Your Broadband?
If you’re one of the fortunate businesses able to access broadband, are you taking full advantage of it? Access to broadband is essential to your business’ ability to be profitable, productive and provide your customers with the services they expect. If you’re not sure if you are using your broadband to its full potential, call Directive today at 607.433.2200 for a free consultation.