Nebraska Broadband Initiative Launches Business Broadband Project

The Nebraska Broadband Initiative is launching a new project to help Nebraska businesses increase their economic vitality through better use of broadband technologies. The goal is to help businesses be more productive and competitive.

Key activities of the new project include the following.

  • Conduct an online assessment of how businesses are using broadband technologies. Survey results will provide valuable information on broadband usage by Nebraska businesses. It will allow for a comparison of business broadband usage and impacts with peers nationwide.
  • Create a personalized business scorecard. Up to 500 businesses will receive a personalized scorecard based on survey responses. The personalized scorecards will include ideas on how to better use broadband-based applications (i.e., cloud computing or selling product on line) and the potential return on investment if the application is adopted.
  • Provide one-on-one assistance. Broadband business coaches (i.e., economic developers, extension educators, Department of Economic Development field staff, and REAP staff) will work with businesses receiving the scorecards.
  • Keep coaching to success. Coaches will participate in an initial train-the-trainer session to increase their knowledge and skills to work with businesses.

The project is designed to help businesses, including micro businesses, innovate and succeed with technology as a partner. (For an example of a wired small REAP business, look here.) Creators of the new initiative have set out five objectives.

  1. Develop strategies to drive innovation by uncovering the current patterns of Internet use.
  2. Understand where investments will have the greatest impact by identifying needs, gaps, and demand for broadband.
  3. Improve local productivity and competitiveness by benchmarking against peers and industry sector leaders, within and outside your region.
  4. Promote awareness, drive utilization, and leverage assets to maximize socio-economic benefits.
  5. Track outcomes, measure impacts, reveal successes, and identify where further investment is needed.

For more information, contact contributing author Charlotte Narjes, cnarjes1@unl.edu.