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Michigan Businesses With Broadband Create Jobs, Connect Michigan Report Shows

A day after releasing a report on broadband adoption in the Upper Peninsula, Connect Michigan released a report showing businesses with a broadband connection are likely to generate more revenue and jobs.

Michigan businesses with high-speed Internet connections report having median annual revenues $200,000 more than businesses without broadband.

"In the digital economy, businesses must embrace broadband, and other transformative technologies like it, in order to remain competitive and viable," said Brian Mefford, CEO of Connected Nation, Connect Michigan'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 new Business Technology Assessment reveals how technology is being used by businesses and where gaps still remain. The assessment is designed to measure technology adoption and the awareness of available broadband service among Michigan businesses, and establish benchmarks for these metrics.

Findings from this survey illustrate a significant correlation between high-speed Internet adoption and a business's bottom line. Specific examples include:

* About one-half of all Michigan businesses (50 percent, or approximately 118,000 businesses) have a Web site. Median annual revenues among businesses that use broadband and have a Web site are double the state average.
* Broadband can enable job creation and enhance quality of life. Some 24 percent of Michigan businesses let employees telework.
* Statewide, more than eight out of 10 Michigan businesses (84 percent, or approximately 197,000 businesses) use computers for their work functions. Among those that do not use a computer, the largest barrier is the belief that they do not need computers for their work, followed by those that report that their business is too small to benefit from a computer, or that computers are too difficult to use.

The study also showed that 10 percent of broadband-connected Michigan busineses need more bandwidth. Also, the median monthly cost for broadband for Michigan businesses is $67, and 75 percent of Michigan manufacturers have adopted broadband.

Across the state, approximately 164,000 Michigan businesses use broadband for their daily business needs. This includes 63 percent of small businesses, or approximately 78,000 businesses with fewer than five employees.

Increasing broadband capacity among businesses is just one area that Connect Michigan is focused on. Across the state, Connect Michigan is collaborating with local partners to increase broadband accessibility and use in vulnerable areas.

Connect Michigan has partnered with the Michigan Public Service Commission to create the state's first broadband inventory maps and engage in a research  project to better understand broadband adoption across the state. The project is focused on gathering accurate and reliable data on the broadband market to aid in planning, the creation and facilitation of local technology planning teams, and the establishment of computer ownership and Internet access programs.

The program is funded by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration  under the State Broadband Data and Development Grant Program. Connect Michigan's broadband mapping efforts are in compliance with NTIA's Notice of Funding Availability for the SBDD and will be reflected in the national broadband map set for release on Feb. 17.

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