It is hard to ignore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our lives, namely the way we work and live. Many people have emerged from the pandemic with a request to employers: Continue to allow flexible work arrangements. Thanks to digital transformations in all sectorsAmericans are adopt flexible working arrangementsand they want more.
In fact, according to McKinsey US Opportunity Survey, 58% of U.S. job holders, the equivalent of 92 million people, say their employers still offer the option to work from home for all or part of the week. The survey also showed that when given the option to work flexibly, 87% of workers accept it.
Due to the shift to remote working, people are moving to cities that better meet their needs. New Data by Upwork reports that 2.4% of Americans –– about 5 million people –– have moved since 2020. And 9.3% of Americans –– about 20 million people – are planning to move.
Businesses are also considering relocating. According FiberLight 2022 Business Relocation Expansion Survey, 70% of IT and business decision makers say they plan to relocate their business or add more locations in the next 3-5 years. Executives cited market saturation and availability, followed by spending to do business in major metropolitan areas and expanding their operations, as factors driving the change.
Notably, of those respondents, 78% said they were considering relocating their business to Texas. Why Texas? Texas offers several advantages, including a lower cost of living, favorable tax rates, and fewer regulations. High on the list are decision makers from Texas cities considering relocation: Dallas/Ft. Worth, Austin and San Antonio, in that order. Policymakers are also considering a slew of more rural Texas markets, including El Paso, Arlington, Corpus Christi, Plano, Lubbock, Irving, Laredo, Frisco, Garland, Brownsville, Amarillo, McKinney and others.
Yet businesses will need faster and more robust connectivity to execute their business strategies.
Executives surveyed said they primarily plan for hybrid and cloud infrastructure models. Their biggest priorities for connectivity upgrades include 1) speed/low latency, 2) security, and miscellaneous connections.
Leaders also said they are prioritizing the following local infrastructure needs:
Data Center Access (29% of Respondents): What Today’s Data Center Requires
The new data center requires an infrastructure capable of delivering fast and secure data transmission via reliable, scalable, and high-capacity bandwidth that meets the processing requirements of next-generation technologies such as blockchain systems. Many blockchain data centers are popping up in rural areas of Texas; however, finding reliable internet connectivity can be difficult.
Public Sector (22% of Respondents): Broadband Advocate for All for Rural America
Public sector teams are critically important in finding solutions that bring next-generation technology to underserved rural areas. By raising awareness of the need for broadband for all, connecting communities to funds and resources, and building partnerships, public sector teams can help municipalities, schools, and businesses access the networks that will help them develop and evolve in the future.
Moving to the Cloud (20% of Respondents): Key Factors to Consider
For enterprises choosing to migrate operations and workloads to the cloud, robust and secure fiber connectivity within a mission-critical colocation facility is a must. Choosing the right data center with the best cloud connection is half the battle. Organizations must also ensure that there is a scalable and reliable fiber optic network infrastructure providing interconnectivity between their sites and chosen data centers.
Dedicated Internet Access (15% of Respondents): The Path to Increased Availability, Speed and Reliability
Businesses of all sizes can benefit from Dedicated Internet Access (DIA), a private or fully dedicated connection between the Internet and the customer. Enterprises, data centers, government institutions and many other businesses today require a fully dedicated connection to transfer large amounts of data at faster speeds to keep pace with their business needs.
Dark Fiber (12% of Respondents): A Cost-Effective Network Strategy for Future-Proof Businesses
Dark fiber has a lot of potential to rejuvenate business capabilities in many key verticals including healthcare, finance, education and many more. This network strategy effectively future-proofs businesses by enabling them to cost-effectively meet the growing needs of their end users with increased bandwidth, reduced latency, and more.
Post-pandemic relocations trigger digital transformation and highlight basic infrastructure requirements to support business expansion. It will be exciting to see how rural areas of our country begin to prosper as a result.
Jay Anderson is Chief Technology Officer of FibreLight, a fiber infrastructure provider with more than 20 years of experience building and operating mission-critical high-bandwidth networks. As CTO, he is responsible for the evolution of FiberLight’s infrastructure and technical capabilities to ensure that the company can respond quickly to the changing needs of its customers in the digital ecosystem. This piece is exclusive to Broadband Breakfast.
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