By Hector V. Barreto
Small businesses are the driving force of economic growth across the country, and reliable high-speed broadband service is essential for their ability to grow, thrive and compete. But as we near the midterm elections, some congressional candidates and members of Congress are stepping up efforts to re-impose outdated Internet rules that would limit broadband expansion and prevent rural businesses from engaging in the digital economy.
Today, online tools are helping the 90 percent of American businesses with fewer than 20 employees become more efficient, competitive and successful. An array of digital platforms help small firms do everything from track financial goals, reach new markets and customers, and manage personnel — but only if these businesses have access to reliable, high-speed Internet.
With small businesses now responsible for two-thirds of the country’s new jobs, these tools are increasingly vital for enabling smaller companies to grow and remain competitive. In fact, small businesses that integrate these tools grow 26 percent faster than those that do not. And as the gig economy allows more people to use digital platforms to find jobs, these tools will be even more essential in the 21st century economy.