Small businesses have many nicknames: America’s economic growth engine, mom and pop, pre-IPO, or startup. But no matter what you call them they are an indispensable ingredient to our economy. Besides employing half of the private sector workforce in our country, the U.S. Small Business Administration says that these employers also create seven of every ten new jobs.
On Small Business Saturday we thank them with our support, and join them in serving our communities. Over 50 percent of the dollars you spend at a small business stay in your neighborhood. And when you tweet about your purchase using the #Shopsmall hashtag, you both shop locally and share globally.
Twitter is a great example of a broadband fueled start up. The company that encourages expressions of 140 characters has thrived on access to ubiquitous and affordable broadband platforms – successfully completing its IPO earlier this month. Without broadband we have no Twitter (or YouTube, or Pinterest, or Scribd, or…well you get the picture).
The Broadband Coalition recently released a report called “Broadband Driving Small Business Forward.” Whether your company HQ is based in your home, garage, dorm room or an office park, the report details examples of how broadband makes the wheels of commerce turn.
But like with all other expenses, there is a disproportionate telecom cost for small businesses versus large businesses. And to help curb those costs, we need to ensure that there is a properly competitive telecom marketplace that is responsive to the needs of our small businesses and helps to drive down the cost of this critical resource.
Since their birth of the competitive telecom marketplace over a decade ago, when “broadband” meant a T-1 connection and speeds of 1.5 megabits per second (Mbps), competitive providers have been on the cutting edge of innovation, nimbly tailoring their services to the small businesses that are well below the radar of the big telecom megaliths.
These competitive startups brought innovations like VOIP, Ethernet and the cloud to market. Today many have grown into household names by helping small business tailor their growth needs - providing telephone, high speed data and cloud computing. Competitive broadband makes it their business to serve businesses.
Today, thanks to competition-fueled innovation, we talk about bandwidth speeds in the tens, if not hundreds, of megabits. And thanks to the pro-competitive framework that Congress passed in 1996, many businesses that have their choice of providers.
But the big guys don’t always like the small guys. In the broadband industry, competition laws are always under assault. Just Monday, AT&T told the FCC it’s going to raise rates for high capacity business connections by 15 to 25 percent. The FCC only has until Dec. 10th to stop AT&T’s rate hike. If you are a small business and would like to help, please tweet and sign our petition at www.RateHikeSneakAttack.com now.
AT&T’s rate hike will put the 29 million small businesses across America at risk. Less competition means fewer choices as your business grows. It’s pretty simple. When there is true market-based competition, prices for broadband go down and small businesses can move up the ladder of success.