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Determine Demand

Demand (existing and projected growth) for broadband services is an often overlooked but very important element in the broadband deployment equation.  Typically, localities are much better positioned than national providers to collect and verify local market conditions, however many choose to “skip” the demand aggregation process and therefore sacrifice:

  • Knowledge of where anchor tenants are located.
  • The ability to effectively plan/execute a phased roll-out schedule.
  • A powerful bargaining chip when dealing with providers looking for economically feasible markets.
  • Opportunities to gain economies of scale through strategic placement of infrastructure assets.
Most importantly, communities who fail to undertake a demand aggregation assessment run the risk of underestimating community bandwidth (current/future) needs and deploying a technology that, over the long term, is unable to support the needs of the community.
At its most basic level, an effective demand assessment categorizes the location and type of user, information on current broadband services (cost/type), types and bandwidth requirements of applications currently in use and applications being considered (and their bandwidth requirements), and level of satisfaction and need directly from the citizen.  Other more comprehensive assessments such as the one included in the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development’s (DHCD) Rural Broadband Planning Initiative also include questions on price sensitivity, satisfaction with existing service, and Information Technology training and workforce availability.
In addition to DHCD, both the Center for Innovative Technology and Virginia Tech’s eCorridors Program offer demand aggregation assessment planning assistance.