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Rural firms slower to use web for business

NNBW staff

A report issued last week by Connect Nevada finds that though rural businesses in the state have adopted technology at a pace similar to businesses in metropolitan areas, rural businesses often miss out on the full benefits of technology.

Connect Nevada’s Technology Use Among Rural Nevada Businesses report finds that roughly 87 percent of rural businesses use computers, and three-quarters have access to broadband Internet services. However, just over 50 percent of rural businesses have created business Web sites, the report finds.

Lindsey Niedzielski, Connect Nevada state program manager, says that research has shown that simply using broadband internet can increase revenues by as much as $300,000 annually. Based on self-reported annual revenues, rural business in the state earn approximately $320 million in annual revenue from online sales.

Many rural businesses in Nevada are in the service, traditional and manufacturing sectors, and oftentimes these firms are slow to adopt and use technology, the report finds. Just under half of firms polled say they use a Web site.

“It’s clear from this new rural business technology report that we have Nevada businesses missing out on available opportunity for greater reach and higher annual revenues,” Niedzielski says. “This report highlights the gap between adopting technology and using it to its greatest potential.”

More than 90 percent of business owners in rural Nevada frequently go online to purchase or place orders for products or services, but they are significantly less likely to use the Internet to market and advertise their own products and services. Fifty-four percent of rural business owners say they conduct online advertising and promotional campaigns, the report says.

The Connect Nevada report conducted by Thoroughbred Research Group of Louisville, Kent., polled 804 Nevada businesses. Connect Nevada is a nonprofit organization commissioned by the state to work with Nevada broadband providers, create detailed maps of current broadband coverage, and increase broadband Internet access, adoption and use throughout the state.