A recent survey says 89 percent of small business owners and business managers surveyed in Philadelphia list high speed Internet as their most important tech tool.
In the same survey, 74 percent of those businesses listed their websites as most important and 73 percent their computers.
In an effort to address that top concern, Verizon  announced bringing free FiOS Quantum Internet service to three Philly small business incubators for one year. In a prepared release about the new FiOS initiative, Tim Smith, Verizon region president for Pennsylvania/Delaware explained:
“Verizon understands that reliable high-speed Internet access is a critical tool these incubators need to assist their clients. With our FiOS Quantum Internet service, we’re challenging these incubators to come up with inventive ways to use broadband to help early-stage companies transform into long-term businesses that are financially successful.”
Incubators to receive the free broadband service include Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania  and the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center of Bucks County . Another incubator soon to be added is Education Design Studio Inc. , a Philadelphia-based incubator focused on education-related ventures.
Konrad Kroszner, director of operations and IT at the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center, says the need for broadband among startups, as with most small businesses, has to do with access to information. He explains:
“The Internet connectivity and speed have become very important to our researchers and entrepreneurs. As the center has attracted more microbiology and chemical researchers over the past few years, the demands on the Internet connection have grown significantly, with more research for papers at various libraries, grant applications, on-line molecular modeling and chemical structure programs, database access, and other bioinformatics data processing.”
More than simply Internet access, Verizon says its FiOS service provides enough speed to participate in webinars and webcasts, communicate effectively with clients, upload video or access loud cloud-based files. After the one year initiative, incubators will be given the choice of paying for the service or discontinuing it.
Verizon Wireless operates a wireless network containing more than 103 million retail locations in the U.S. and delivers integrated business solutions via its fiber optic network to more than 150 countries.
The survey referenced was conducted in May 2014, and was a joint effort between Verizon and Small Business Trends. Partial survey results appear in the image above.