Merger Could Help Create Economic Momentum
Medina is having a moment. Our fair city was recognized as one of America’s most desirable cities to live in and one of the best small towns in the country. Most recently, Medina was named Northeast Ohio’s best hometown. These accolades prove what our people already knew. But it also presents an opportunity.
Our enviable quality of life, ideal location, and status as one of the fastest-growing counties in Ohio serve as selling points that help us to attract prospective businesses and new residents to the greater Medina area. These selling points, combined with these recent awards, just might help us to turn Medina’s moment into some momentum.
If we want to use it to create more opportunities and to encourage business growth, and ultimately improve our community, then now is the time. First, though, we need to focus on one area in which the greater Medina area falls short: access to high-speed wireless broadband.
Many similarly-sized communities are underserved when it comes to broadband access, but consistent, reliable access to the next generation of mobile broadband should be affordable and available in all areas. According to Connect Ohio, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing high-speed Internet access in our state, 81 percent of households in Medina County currently have access to broadband. This number is far below our national goal of universal access.
Broadband access has become a 21st century quality of life issue. Lack of access can hold our people back from countless educational, professional, and social opportunities.
As many of you know, broadband access is also a critical business matter. As of 2010, Connect Ohio found only 67 percent of businesses have access to broadband. This is an issue because businesses in Ohio that utilize broadband had annual revenues of $200,000 more than businesses that did not use broadband. Imagine if 100 percent of businesses in our region were able to utilize high-speed wireless broadband.
Businesses of all sizes, and in every industry, use broadband to manage operations, improve efficiency, and increase productivity. For instance, many businesses use broadband for online banking and accounting, as well as for online shipping and inventory tracking and control. Increased broadband availability also helps some businesses lower costs by offering telecommuting opportunities for workers. Currently, about 22 percent of Ohio businesses offer this option.
Expanding the network infrastructure is expensive, which is why universal access is not yet a reality. However, the proposed merger of AT&T and T-Mobile could result in expanded access to 4G LTE, the fastest and most advanced wireless broadband service available. If approved, this private-sector solution would bring broadband access to over 97 percent of the U.S. population, and will do so without the use of taxpayer dollars.
This merger is an opportunity for businesses and residents of the Medina area. Expanded access to broadband could greatly help strengthen our economic base and support the success and growth of businesses. Now is a great time for the Medina area, and expanded broadband access can help ensure a more prosperous future.
You can find out more about the merger and how residents and businesses in the Medina Chamber will benefit as a result by clicking here.