When it comes to leveling the playing field for businesses in small towns, technology can be a key factor in helping local businesses stay competitive. Whether a business is located in a community of 9,000 people or 900,000 people, access to broadband internet services can balance the scales and allow small businesses to compete with their urban counterparts anywhere.
Recently, a consultant who works with businesses on the east coast came to Chanute to look over the community. He was here to study the community, taking a close look at available buildings, land, utilities and support services. He looked at our college, K-12 schools, hospital and housing. He asked details about the leadership in the community. He asked specifically about the City Commission, County Commission, the Chanute Regional Development Authority, Chanute Area Chamber of Commerce and Main Street Chanute.
The consultant looked at the downtown businesses, the Santa Fe corridor and the industrial park. He visited several stores, restaurants and service businesses.
While he was impressed with many things he saw in the two days he was here
, one thing he talked about most was the city’s fiber network and the importance of broadband for the businesses he works with today. It’s not just “high tech” businesses that utilize broadband services. Engineers, accountants, medical services, manufacturing businesses and even some retailers are dependent upon high speed internet access to make their businesses more productive and more competitive in todays’ business world.
Area Development Magazine conducts a survey of “site selectors” every year to list every year is the need for a good, productive, cost effective, labor force. The remaining top three factors usually center on location and access to transportation (Highways, airports, railroads). This year an item that was not previously in the top ten jumped to the number four on the list. That item was the availability of fiber networks and broadband connectivity for businesses.
The bottom line is that “Technology Talks” in todays’ world, whether it’s for existing businesses or new businesses. There is an increasing need for higher internet speeds and more bandwidth to stay competitive and to stay in business.