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12/6/11 10:13AM
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Broadband Internet Access Helps Drive Cyber Monday Savings and Sales

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Charles Hunt 401-484-1516 iiarhodeisland@gmail.com Providence, RI – December 5, 2011 – Consumers and businesses will benefit from …

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Charles Hunt

401-484-1516

iiarhodeisland@gmail.com

Providence, RI – December 5, 2011 – Consumers and businesses will benefit from expanded high-speed broadband Internet, the Rhode Island Internet Innovation Alliance (IIA) said today, noting this year’s Cyber Monday set a single-day record for online shopping in the U.S. with 10 million people spending an estimated $1.25 billion. And thanks to an ongoing initiative from Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth H. Roberts, local Rhode Island businesses can be a part of this economic boon.

Online sales for Cyber Monday increased 33 percent this year and topped the $1.03-billion record for online spending set last year, according to Coremetrics.

Many retailers seek to capitalize on Cyber Monday, attempting to attract customers through online-only promotions and sales. The day is proof of the central role the Internet plays in our society and evidence that Americans without a connection cannot fully participate.

But Cyber Monday activities aren’t just happening on Amazon.com. The Internet takes consumers not just to the world’s marketplace, but also to their local marketplace. Innovative programs like the Lieutenant Governor’s Buy Local RI initiative (www.buylocalri.org) are impacting the way we shop locally during the holidays.

Buy Local RI was established in 2009 as a collaborative effort between small businesses, non-profit organizations, local government, and the Lieutenant Governor’s office.

“Rhode Islanders understand that helping local businesses is essential to a strong economy in our state,” said Lieutenant Governor Roberts. “The holiday season is the perfect time to engage with these businesses. And with Buy Local RI, we believe it’s easier than it has ever been.”

Nationally, Cyber Monday sales have more than doubled since the $484 million recorded in 2005, and an estimated 90 percent of retailers offered special online promotions for the day in 2011, according to Shop.org.

Small businesses saw a 10-percent increase in sales on Cyber Monday, according to a 2008 report from Network Solutions. Businesses in areas of Rhode Island without Internet access will miss out on any similar bump in shopping activity. But online marketplace initiatives like Buy Local RI are looking to change that.

“During America’s busiest shopping season, broadband is allowing small businesses in Rhode Island to compete online and attract consumers with sales, discounts and special deals,” said Roberts. “Strong small businesses are the foundation of the U.S. economy and broadband is the foundation for our small businesses. With Buy Local RI, we’re strengthening that foundation.”

IIA supports efforts to extend broadband access to consumers and businesses throughout the country by reforming the Universal Service Fund to include broadband, more efficient use of spectrum, and a sharp focus on rural and minority areas that lack broadband access. Broadband supporters may sign the IIA petition calling for expanded broadband here.

The Internet Innovation Alliance is a broad-based coalition supporting broadband availability and access for all Americans including underserved and rural communities. It aims to ensure every American, regardless of race, income or geography, has access to this critical tool. The IIA seeks to promote public policies that leverage the power of entrepreneurs and the market to achieve universal broadband availability and adoption. Find out more about the IIA at www.internetinnovation.org

Buy Local RI’s mission is to build a strong economy and vibrant community by promoting locally owned independent businesses, strengthening our state’s merchant and commercial associations, and providing a unified public resource where businesses and individuals can find and connect to local products and services. Learn more at www.buylocalri.org

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