Editorial: As Virginia approaches universal broadband, the state must measure its return on investment | Editorial

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Why devote time and energy to these initiatives? The Commonwealth Connect report pointed out that there was a significant return on investment.

One study cited that universal broadband could add $ 1.29 billion to the state of Virginia’s gross revenue while creating more than 9,400 jobs. It is also estimated that the value of residential properties would increase between 3% and 8%.

Another study by the USDA’s Economic Research Service found that agriculture, the Commonwealth’s largest industry, could increase production by 18% through the adoption of connected technologies. Agriculture already generates $ 70 billion in economic activity for Virginia, and the impact of broadband could add an additional $ 12.6 billion.

But the Commonwealth Connect report admitted that “these calculations, while strong, still fail to capture the economic benefits of increased market access” for rural businesses, telehealth patients, students and more.

“It can be easy to say, ‘Well some of our counties are connected,’” added Representative Abigail Spanberger, D-7th, at the Dec. 13 event in Goochland. “But that’s not everyone.”

By extending Spanberger’s sentiment, it can be easy to say, “Well, our whole county is connected. But what about the people behind the data? There is still work to be done to ensure better results are achieved by households and businesses with new connections.

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