"We move a lot of data and need high capacity," CEO Carter Beck told the Journal last week. His company specializes in appointment setting, client prospecting and other functions on behalf of the insurance industry.
The relocation of companies like Secure Customer Relations, Inc. to Utah reaffirms the conclusions of a Utah Broadband Advisory Council Report released last week by the Utah Broadband Project and the Governor's Office of Economic Development (GOED) -- that Utah is attracting businesses due to the state's exceptional level of high-speed internet access and communications infrastructure.
Findings and Recommendations
The report details the findings and recommendations of the Utah Broadband Advisory Council during its first year of meetings. The Utah Broadband Project formed the Council in June 2011 to convene key stakeholders to discuss the status of broadband adoption and deployment in the State of Utah.
Todd Brightwell, EDCUtah's senior vice president of business development, says the fact that most of Utah's populated areas are covered by some type of broadband service, combined with lower labor costs, has helped make the state a strategic location for national connectivity, especially for call centers, data centers and other high tech companies.
"Utah's public and private leaders have been visionary in collaborating to develop the state's broadband infrastructure and the result is certainly important to our economic development efforts. It gives the state a competitive advantage," Brightwell adds.
Utah has received national recognition for its extensive broadband infrastructure and high adoption rate. According to a 2011 report published by the U.S. Department of Commerce entitled Exploring the Digital Nation: Computer and Internet Use at Home, Utah ranked #1 in average home broadband adoption. In its most recent State of the Internet report, Akamai Technologies ranked Utah as having the fourth fastest Internet speeds in the nation, leading all western states.
Tara Thue, manager of the Utah Broadband Project, adds that Utah enjoys a greater level of connectivity than many other states with similar population densities and geography, largely due to the collaboration that exists between public and private entities. "We have found that many of these partnerships are unique to Utah and we are often asked to share these achievements with other states," she says.
Some examples of the public/private partnerships supporting the buildout of Utah's broadband infrastructure include work by the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT), which has facilitated the expansion of broadband infrastructure into rural areas by conducting cooperative fiber and conduit trades with broadband service providers. Further, UDOT has a best practice of laying fiber during road construction projects, where it makes sense.
Utah Educational Network
Another partnership involves Utah's broadband service providers and the Utah Education Network (UEN). These partners have worked together to obtain discounted rates for broadband connectivity to over 1,000 schools, colleges and libraries -- most with gigabit-speed connections.
The Utah Broadband Project is a joint effort between GOED, the Public Service Commission (PSC) and the Department of Technology Services' Automated Geographic Reference Center (AGRC) to develop a statewide map of available broadband services and a plan to increase broadband adoption and deployment in Utah.
The Project maintains Utah's interactive broadband availability map, and works with broadband providers to gather and verify data twice each year. The Utah Broadband Project has recently won awards, including a 2011 GovMark Council Award and the 2011 January Achievement Award from the Utah Product Management Council.
The Utah Broadband Advisory Council is comprised of public and private entities and has met monthly to discuss how broadband access impacts education, libraries, economic development, public safety, health care and transportation, as well as rural and tribal areas. For each of these focus subjects, the Report highlights the discussions of the Council and provides specific recommendations for Governor Gary R. Herbert, the Utah State Legislature and other interested parties to consider.
GOED Executive Director Spencer P. Eccles says the formation of the Utah Broadband Advisory Council epitomizes Governor Gary Herbert's call for "unprecedented partnerships" and "is another example of the public and private sectors working together to find Utah solutions to Utah problems. The level of collaboration and coordination that the Council has generated will impact Utah's economy and quality of life for years to come," he continues.
Thue says the Council will continue to meet and its recommendations will be incorporated into a comprehensive state broadband plan that is projected to be released later this year by the Utah Broadband Project. Read more about the Utah Broadband Advisory Council here.