After Broadband: A Study of Organizational Use of Broadband in Southwest Alaska

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Show simple item record Hudson, Heather E. Sharp, Suzanne Hill, Alexandra 2015-09-14T16:29:27Z 2015-09-14T16:29:27Z 2015-06-01
dc.description.abstract The purpose of this research was to gain a preliminary understanding of how organizations including large and small businesses, Native corporations and organizations, and local and regional governments are using broadband that is now available in much of southwest Alaska. To learn about community access to broadband, interviews were also conducted with library and school staff in communities where broadband had been installed under the OWL (Online with Libraries) program. Further, the study identifies research from other sources that could help to predict what socio-economic impacts the availability and adoption of broadband may have in rural Alaska. Financial institutions use online connections for teller services and credit and debit card processing, and stated that more people in rural communities now have debit cards that they can use for online purchases and bill paying. Large retailers use online services for payroll, for pointof-sale (POS) transactions, and online ordering. Seafood processors rely heavily on connectivity with their head offices (generally in the lower 48) for administrative services including payroll, accounting, shipping and receiving, purchasing, and ERP (enterprise resource planning), and access data base software to track fish tickets. Seafood processors also provide Internet access for their employees, most of whom are seasonal and from other states or countries. Tourism businesses use broadband for online reservation systems and for guests, who increasingly demand connectivity even for remote vacations. Village corporations and tribal councils use online services to help their residents obtain hunting and fishing licenses and fishing permits, to learn about funding opportunities, and to file reports on grants. Local Governments connect online for interoffice communications and for payroll and other administrative functions. Other online applications and services include providing remote desktop access from other agency sites, use of online tools for land management and mapping, training including webinars for workforce development, and providing access to social services for clients. An economic development organization sends newsletters to communities electronically and packets of documents to its board members rather than relying on fax or courier. Websites are important for tourism-related businesses to advertise and promote their businesses and for nonprofits and local governments to provide information about their services. 5 Broadband now plays many roles in rural education. Most students are required to use the Internet for class assignments. High school students can connect to classes in advanced subjects in other communities, and may complete online courses for college credit. Libraries remain important locations for community access, with residents going online to connect with friends on Facebook, as well as to download content for e-books, file income tax, and apply for jobs and government benefits. School and library Wi-Fi provides access inside and near the buildings for residents with smartphones. Despite enthusiasm for broadband and the adoption of many broadband-based applications and services, most organizations interviewed identified problems with broadband, particularly with the pricing, stating that the terrestrial broadband network is too costly for them to take full advantage of online services and applications. While the scope of this study was too limited to estimate long-term benefits, it found that broadband is highly valued and increasingly important to businesses and nonprofit organizations and local governments in southwest Alaska. Broadband helps businesses to be more efficient in their operations and to extend their reach to new customers and suppliers. It also helps to improve the effectiveness of public sector services such as those provided by borough and city governments and extends access to education and training. Broadband is also likely to be an important component of strategies to develop ecotourism and other ecosystem services. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship Support for this research came from Connect Alaska with funding from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) for the work of the State of Alaska Broadband Task Force, with additional support from GCI. en_US
dc.description.tableofcontents Executive Summary / Introduction / Research Methodology / Technologies and Technical Support / Broadband Applications / Education and Community Access / Health Care / Benefits of Broadband in Southwest Alaska / Problems and Limitations / Potential Long-Term Social and Economic Impacts / Conclusions and Recommendations / Referemces en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage en_US
dc.title After Broadband: A Study of Organizational Use of Broadband in Southwest Alaska en_US
dc.type Report en_US

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