According to the national nonprofit group Connected Nation, broadband plays a key role in business performance and influences the continuing economic recovery. Recent research by the group says U.S. businesses generate $411.4 billion in online sales to consumers or other businesses.
It’s not all good news, however. Connected Nation points out an estimated 1.8 million businesses remain unconnected to broadband.
“The economic impact of broadband is far-reaching and immense,” said Connected Nation Chief Policy Counsel Thomas M. Koutsky. “But our research shows that there is a significant broadband adoption and use gap among businesses in many important areas of the economy.”
This business technology assessment was conducted as part of the State Broadband Initiative grant program funded by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. To gather its data, the group surveyed more than 7,000 businesses Alaska, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.
Here is more of what it found:
>> Nearly one in three businesses (32 percent) earn revenues from online sales. This translates into more than 2.4 million U.S. businesses.
>> Broadband-connected businesses bring in approximately $300,000 more in annual median revenues than non-broadband adopting businesses.
>> Connected Nation estimates 4.4 million U.S. business establishments have Web sites, including more than 2 million businesses with fewer than five employees.
>> Teleworking also continues to have an impact in the marketplace, with 24 percent of rural businesses and 35 percent of non-rural businesses currently allowing employees to telework or telecommute.
>> U.S. minority-owned businesses account for $49 billion in annual sales revenues from online sales (12 percent of total U.S. online sales). A large percentage of minority-owned businesses report using broadband to handle some or all of their business functions (79 percent, compared to 76 percent of all businesses on average).
Connected Nation research also reveals how high-speed Internet service is changing how job creators and job seekers identify each other in the United States; approximately 2.5 million U.S. businesses currently use the Internet to advertise job openings or accept job applications. Notably, 139,000 of those businesses today only accept applications via the Internet, and this number can be expected to grow over time, with drastic implications for the 23 percent of U.S. households today that currently lack a computer.