Last modified: Monday, May 16, 2011
Report finds progress in availability of broadband Internet service in Indiana
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 16, 2011
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A new report from the Indiana Business Research Center at Indiana University shows that progress has been made in Indiana regarding the availability of broadband Internet service and identifies the southwest part of the state as an area needing attention.
As of December 2009, 12 of Indiana's 92 counties had basic high-speed Internet access in between 60 and 80 percent of households. However, when using a faster definition of broadband service used by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (known as BTOP/BIP), that number drops to nine Indiana counties.
"While in past decades access to interstates and railroads played a crucial role in economic development, the knowledge-based economy is experiencing a similar reliance on broadband connectivity," said Rachel Justis, a geo-demographic analyst at the IBRC.
"These data from the FCC show that broadband adoption rates tend to be lower in southern Indiana relative to the rest of the state, making this an indicator for economic developers to watch as time goes on," she added.
Counties where more than 60 percent of households had a basic Internet connection included Marion County and surrounding Boone, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks and Johnson counties. Monroe and Tippecanoe counties, home to research universities, also were on the list along with Allen, Dearborn, Lake and Porter counties.
The report appeared in INContext, a publication of the IBRC, which is based at IU's Kelley School of Business.
Evansville is notable among the state's metros for its low rates of broadband adoption, Justis said. According to the FCC, Gibson County is the only county in Indiana where 20 percent or less of its households have basic broadband access. When looking at the faster BTOP/BIP definition, Gibson and Posey counties have adoption rates of 20 percent or less, while Vanderburgh County has adoption rates of 40 percent or less.
The link between high-speed Internet connections and economic development has become more crucial in recent years. A Brookings Institution report estimated that for every 1 percentage point increase in broadband penetration in a state, nonfarm private employment is projected to increase by 0.2 to 0.3 percent.
As part of the national broadband plan, the Indiana Geographic Information Office is in the midst of a multi-year, multi-agency effort to map where broadband coverage exists across the state.
Other articles in the latest issue of INContext focus on how employment in Indiana and its neighbors changed in the 18 months before, during and after the Great Recession and on the wind power industry.
INContext is published every two months and is available free of charge on the Web at http://www.incontext.indiana.edu/. In addition, the INContext website offers access to articles in previous issues on the Indiana economy and links to useful resources.