(NEWS RELEASE) – In a recent survey among West Virginia’s economic development agencies and chambers of commerce, a conflicting narrative has emerged between a perceived need for higher speeds with more access to broadband and an uncertainty as to what those current speeds and reach of existing providers already are.
- A plurality of respondents believes that over 90% of businesses within their respective county/counties have access to broadband Internet service.
- Only 16.3% of respondents stated they believe that the lack of broadband connectivity is the cause for the state’s lagging economy. This issue came in third behind a dependence on coal and an aging workforce.
- 5% of respondents claimed that the state’s reliance on the coal industry was the number one issue facing economic development
- When surveying the state of West Virginia in February 2017, West Virginia for Broadband found a plurality of respondents, 46.4%, stated that they believe the state’s reliance on the coal industry is having the greatest impact of the state’s lagging economy
- When asked to describe the Internet speed at their office:
- 4% of respondents stated it was less than 9 MBPS
- 3% of respondents stated they were unsure
- 8% of respondents stated that the percentage of businesses in their county/counties that require Internet for daily operations falls between 51 and 100 percent
- 7% of respondents stated they believed the percentage of the labor force that works from home full-time in their county/counties falls at 10 percent or below
- 4% of respondents stated they believe the percentage of the West Virginia labor force the works from and/or operates a business from home falls 5 percent or below
- When surveying West Virginia residents in February 2017, West Virginia for Broadband found that 14.7% of respondents stated that they or someone in their house works from or operates a business from home
- 7% of respondents reported being unsure of the maximum DSL download speed in their county/counties
- 1% of respondents reported being unsure of the maximum Fiber Optic download speed in their county/counties
- 7% of respondents reported being unsure of the maximum Cable download speed in their county/counties
- 9% of respondents reported that they believe 91%-100% of businesses in their county/counties would see substantive improvement in their daily operations through doubled broadband speeds
West Virginia for Broadband executed a survey of the economic development authorities and chambers of commerce in West Virginia in order to gauge the perceived state of broadband and Internet connectivity and use by West Virginia’s businesses. County and regional development authorities and chambers of commerce were sent physical copies of the survey with follow-up, individual live- phone interviews conducted to collect additional responses.
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West Virginia for Broadband is a coalition that strives to educate business leaders, economic development entities and policy makers about the value of broadband and assists them in their efforts to enact effective decisions to bring Internet access to all West Virginians.