Part 3/5 from our series on the benefits of broadband for communities!
ability of light manufacturers and specialty retailers in smaller cities and
towns to connect to the global engine of electronic commerce is vital to
municipal health and growth. As more small firms achieve growth-stage viability
through microfunding and crowdsourced funding services, it becomes possible to
develop a significant manufacturing and retail sector in municipalities that
have historically been agricultural, ‘bedroom,’ or hospitality and service-based
communities. Fast, reliable broadband is a significant enabler for small businesses in light manufacturing
and retail that need to move significant volumes of data – engineering designs
and CDC patterns, high-resolution color product images, volume ordering data –
on a regular basis.
Broadband is more than an enabling technology for existing and within-community
entrepreneurial organizations, though. It’s also a key economic development driver
for attracting new entrepreneurs to specified electronic commerce zones within
the municipality. Across the country, many towns have deployed defined
enterprise zones with a specific focus on electronic commerce development, with
tax incentives specifically designed to attract new businesses that rely on
distant trade over a robust fiber backbone. Zones of this type generally
provide qualifying businesses with credits against their state income tax,
corporate excise tax, or both, and generally tend to center around the range of
25% of the qualifying business’ capital cost for electronic commerce
investments within a specified year or range of years.