IEDC to Release Broadband Research Report

"Getting Connected: How Economic Developers are Expanding Broadband Access" launches June 7.
WASHINGTON - May 27, 2021 - PRLog -- The International Economic Development Council (IEDC), the largest nonprofit association for professional economic developers, will launch its newest Economic Research Development Partners (EDRP) report on June 7, 2021. Part think tank and part network, the EDRP program generates original research designed to serve practicing economic developers and to advance the economic development profession.

EDRP's upcoming report, titled "Getting Connected: How Economic Developers are Expanding Broadband Access," will offer professionals a crash course on understanding broadband issues, explore why access to affordable, reliable broadband is critical to community competitiveness, and present a range of solutions that communities are pursuing. A policy and development hot topic, broadband access affects everything from business and worker retention to home values to farming output. However, millions of Americans lack reliable and affordable internet, if not access altogether .

"From business owners to students to doctors to workers, each one of us experienced the crucial nature of broadband this year," said Tom Kucharski, IEDC board chair and President/CEO of Invest Buffalo Niagara. "Even as in-person interaction resumes, the importance of broadband will continue to grow, and communities without access will fall behind."

Access to quality broadband was important before the pandemic, but since the start of COVID-19 last spring, it has proved essential. "Going forward, communities that have reliable, affordable, and high-speed broadband will be more competitive for recruiting and retaining both businesses and workers," said SeonAh Kendall, CPA, EDRP co-chair and the city of Fort Collins Senior Economic Manager.

The federal government has recognized how the lack of universal and quality broadband has negatively affected Americans in both rural and urban areas. "We are in a moment of historic opportunity as the federal government prepares to pour billions of dollars into states and communities to improve broadband access," said Jeff Finkle, president and CEO of IEDC. "Economic developers need to educate themselves and community stakeholders now, to capitalize on these opportunities in the near future."

Complete with in-depth case studies, the forthcoming EDRP report offers concrete roles for economic developers who aim to improve broadband connectivity in their communities. "Economic developers can help to improve broadband access in many different ways - assessing need, educating legislators and stakeholders, building coalitions, evaluating options, and securing funding, to name a few," said Susan Davenport, EDRP co-chair and Senior Vice President at the Greater Houston Partnership. With the help of the economic development community and the aid of federal dollars, optimism abounds for better broadband access across America.

To download the report on June 7 or to learn more about the EDRP program, visit iedconline.org.

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