I've been perusing the newest semi-annual FCC Report on broadband access.Just released today, the report lists state-by-statetalliesof homes and businesses that subscribe to high speed Internet servicesat least 200 kbps in one or both directions.
Before I give you the breakdown of thetwo states withfastestgrowing broadband access, I think I shouldrelate tthese numbers to VoIP.
1. VoIP won't work well without high-speed cable modem or DSL access.
2. In technology, as well as inother persuasion-driven fields such as politics and spirituality, the newest converts are often the truest believers. When it comes to broadband, then, I believe that the ones who have signed up relatively recently have exhibited an enthusiasm for not only for high-speed Internet access, but for the enhanced services (such as VoIP) that high-speed Internet access enables.
The newest FCC numbers measure broadband access in June 2004. I've compared these numbers to December, 2003's tallies.The two states with the fastest growing broadband access subscriber bases are both rural in nature, and sparsely populated:
Wyoming's broadband subscriber access accountsgrew 42.9 percent, from 24,818 to 35,464.
West Virginia's grew 26.1 percent, from 100,937 to 127,283. That despite a 2003-04 population rise of only 2.1%- the third slowest of any U.S. state.
You could make the valid point that broadband access percentages grew in these states because they had a smaller existing base to build on. But then, that argument does not account for the fast broadband account growth in Missouri, which grew 23.7 percent.
And with regard to West Virginia, I'd say that any market where a new technology grows 13 times as fast as the population is rife with market potential.
But especially when it comes to Wyoming and West Virginia, there are undeniable causal factors in play. John Denver was right. There are lots of "country roads" in West Virginia, and room to roam in Wyoming. Both states are significantly rural in nature.
When you have rural states, you have both the potential and reality of significant distances between phone exchanges. That translates into lots of overhead forILECs, and the potential of steep long-distance calling charges to help defray maintenance costs.
But the very fact that new high-speed Internet access subscribers are signing up in droves in these places tells me that here are populaces that are seeking modern solutions for telecommunications challenges.
That's where VoIP providers come in. In these states, you have a significant block of potential customers that having recently cast their lot with broadband access, are receptive to the services it enables.
Not only that, but here's agold mine ofpotential customers who would be veryeager to hear aboutsolutions that could help them avoid those nasty ILEC-imposed long-distance phone charges to call the seed and feed store in their county seat.