A Potential COVID-19 Silver Lining - ETI

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August 31, 2020

A Potential COVID-19 Silver Lining

Could the COVID-19 telecommuting trend drive a migration to small towns? New research from Recon Analytics suggests the answer could be “yes.” That could be a bright spot for many ETI clients who server smaller towns and rural markets.

Almost 40% of all U.S. workers in the U.S. are able to telecommute, including basically every white collar worker, Recon Analytics researchers said.

This realization comes at a time when a slight majority (50.9%) of Americans who can telecommute are contemplating moving to a smaller city or town – perhaps because the pandemic has prompted them to “reevaluate their priorities and living conditions,” Recon Analytics said. Even 31% of Americans who can’t telecommute are considering a move to a smaller city or town.

A third of respondents don’t have a reason that would stop them from moving to a different house or apartment. About 16% to 17% each cited taking a pay cut, lack of broadband access and lack of access to quality healthcare as reasons to not move.

An incompatible political climate, lack of an airport within 50 miles and “no buzzing restaurant and nightlife scene” scored lower. The highest response, at 19.6%, indicated that the reason a respondent wouldn’t move was not on the list of offered responses.

Importance of Broadband

The research looked at respondents’ views of what speed constitutes broadband. Three speeds – 50 Mbps download/5 Mbps upload, 100 Mbps download/10 Mbps upload and symmetrical gigabit service – were within a hair of each other, chosen by 22.1%, 22.9% and 22%, respectively.

The availability of broadband is critical for any moving decision. While the lack of widely available broadband is a significant hurdle for cities and towns to attract new residents, it is almost outright disqualifying for housing options, according to this research. Nearly 80% of respondents said they would not move to a place, like a house or apartment, that does not have good quality broadband.

The research confirms the role broadband plays in economic development. Good quality broadband is required. The pandemic is changing people’s idea of where they have to live. Smaller towns and rural markets may benefit from this shift and could attract people to move there, provided they have that quality broadband.

ETI is honored to work with our clients in helping them deliver this important high-quality broadband. Our tools and solutions help service providers deliver high quality broadband and an exceptional customer experience.

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