Stories of Technology, Innovation, & Entrepreneurship in the Southeast

January 25, 2021 | Tom Ballard

Nearby city tops state, national rankings as best for remote work

What is Tennessee’s best work-from-home community? I’ll bet you cannot guess; we were certainly surprised, but keep reading for the answer. It’s a community not too far from Knoxville.

An organization named InMyArea.com reports that it analyzed about 800 communities across the country to determine which ones give remote workers the best balance of affordability and access to high-speed internet.

“Of course, everyone has a different set of factors they use to determine if a place is an attractive relocation option,” the authors wrote in this post. “Some want lots of live music venues, while others are big on parks, restaurants or culturally significant sites. Our ranking doesn’t factor for those things, but if you’re looking to start with a base of affordability and high-speed internet access — put these cities on your list.”

The criteria that InMyArea used is as follows:

  • The percentage of a city’s residents with access to high-speed wired internet, defined as a cable, DSL or fiber connection with 500mbps download/25mbps upload speeds. Broadband coverage and pricing information comes from InMyArea’s database of provider coverage, which is updated regularly with the latest data from the Federal Communications Commission.
  • The percentage of a city’s residents with access to affordable basic wired broadband internet plans. InMyArea defines broadband as those offering speeds of at least 25mbps download/3mbps upload, and affordable was defined as no more than $60 per month for standalone internet-only residential plans. In both cases, included plans were available through the end of the third quarter of 2020.
  • Monthly rent costs although, in some cities, the cost of living was substituted for this figure.
  • Housing cost per square meter. Because cities vary so dramatically by their rental costs and their size, InMyArea created a metric to standardize housing costs across a city, including inside and outside the city center. Cost of living, housing and rent figures came from Numbeo.

So, which Tennessee city topped the list? It was nearby Morristown that also ranked at the top of InMyArea’s ranking of medium size cities (20,000 to 99,999 residents).