LAWRENCE — Broadband connections continue to grow to meet consumer demand in Kansas, and the development of wireless business models will help further expand access to such service statewide, according to a new report by the Center for Applied Economics at the University of Kansas.
Titled “A Profile of the Broadband Internet Industry in Kansas,” the report traces the recent history of Internet connectivity in Kansas, compares it to that of the nation as a whole and examines specific forms of broadband such as cable, fiber, mobile wireless, fixed wireless, traditional wireline and DSL.
According to the report, Kansas now ranks 23rd nationally for broadband connections. More specifically, from 2005 to 2010: Connections related to the DSL and cable technologies increased by more than 60 percent; connections related to fiber optics increased almost 950 percent to about 21,000; and wireless mobile connections increased to about 607,000 from less than 1,000. This demonstrates the high consumer demand for broadband in Kansas, serving as a microcosm of the trend nationwide and the usefulness of further expanding access to these services across Kansas, the report says.
The report provides a complete list of Kansas broadband providers and the cities they serve, and it also includes an estimate of the upfront capital investment, by county, required to deploy DSL broadband to achieve near-universal access in Kansas.
Additionally, the report offers the following broad conclusions:
• Most studies find that broadband has a positive relationship with employment and business establishment growth.
• Broadband expansion has a positive relationship with economic growth, especially in industries that rely more on information technology and in areas with lower population densities.
• The relationship between broadband expansion and employment growth varies by industry.
• Broadband expansion has a positive, statistically significant relationship with growth due to the births and deaths and expansions and contractions of business establishments.
• Aside from the obviously high consumption value of Internet services, the economic benefits of broadband for residents appear to be limited. The study found that broadband does not affect the average wage or the employment rate (the share of working-age adults that is employed); however, businesses tend to locate in areas that have access to quality broadband connections. The study found that expanding broadband availability has so far not changed the prevalence of telecommuting or other home-based work.
The report is authored by Art Hall, founding executive director of the Center for Applied Economics. The report is available online.
The mission of the Center for Applied Economics is to help advance the economic development of the state and region by offering economic analysis and economic education relevant for policy makers, community leaders and other interested citizens. The center is housed within the KU School of Business.