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Broadband Improving Economic Development in the Heartland

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Though it requires dedicated effort to track and report on the economic impact of community broadband networks, there are plenty of ways in which these networks directly and indirectly produce economic benefits for constituents. Cedar Falls Utilities (CFU) in Iowa has been providing broadband services since 1996, and shares with listeners some great insights to using the technology as an economic engine.   

CFU’s Internet services impacts their local economy in several ways, including being a key contributor to CFU’s transfer of more than $1.6 million annually to the City's general fund, which reduces local property taxes. Betty Zeman, Marketing Manager for CFU, and Network Manager Rob Houlihan describe some of their many successes, and offer some tactics for measuring these successes.

This year CFU completes the rebuild of its fiber network infrastructure, as well as extends their service to about 90 square miles of rural land outside the Cedar Falls city limits where the utility provides electric service. CFU recently announced that they have increased customer Internet access speeds across the board, but with no increase in price.

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