Greater Memphis Has Telecom Advantage

Broadband infrastructure gives Greater Memphis an edge in attracting call centers, shared service operations

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Memphis, TN
Courtesy of Phillip Van Zandt/Memphis Tourism

Greater Memphis has long been an ideal location for call centers and back office operations.

The region offers an exceptional talent pool featuring 71,000 full- and part-time college students within a 50-mile radius, 96,000 adults in the Mid-South region who speak at least one foreign language and a suite of financial incentives and training assistance available from the state.

All of the above helps explain why there are already 160-plus call centers in Greater Memphis, which together, employ more than 100,000 people and provide customer service to clients around the world. A diverse array of major corporations, including FedEx, AutoZone and ServiceMaster, maintain shared service facilities, among the more than 20 facilities that address IT, HR and financial services needs.

Yet Memphis hasn’t been resting on its laurels. In recent years both public entities and private-sector organizations have invested millions of dollars into the region's communications infrastructure to help attract new businesses.

Gig City

Comcast representatives met with the Greater Memphis Chamber in 2016, when a commitment was made to make Memphis a ‘Gig City.' Comcast invested nearly $6 million to bring 100 gigabit per second (Gbps) service to customers in the Memphis market as part of a three-year expansion of its fiber-based Ethernet service.

“To date we have more than 300 locations installed with Gig service,” says Evangeline Parker-Guest, external affairs manager for Comcast's Big South Region-Memphis.

That expansion in service hasn’t been limited to businesses. For example, 18 branches of the Memphis Public Libraries system now have 1 gig service, 290 schools in Shelby County are now connected and Comcast also provides phone and internet service to the National Civil Rights Museum.

Comcast Business Services is well-positioned to serve the needs of companies looking to relocate to Memphis.

“We have a great team in place so when we receive a call from someone with, say, a call center, our team can develop a custom plan for that business,” says Parker-Guest.   

The entire central business district is served by fiber optic networks and surrounded by a Local Area Network. Eleven companies in the region provide large enterprise and small businesses with cloud services for voice and storage as well as internet access and co-location services.

Deep Talent Pool

The region's broadband strengths and deep pool of talent appealed to LEDIC Realty Co., which owns, manages and develops multifamily properties across the U.S. The company opened a new headquarters in East Memphis in 2016.

“While people don’t think about real estate as technology-centric, the decision [to expand our headquarters] was based upon the fact that we manage over 250 apartment properties scattered across the U.S. And when we are able to provide high bandwidth between us and the properties and have a great talent pool in accounting and back office here in Memphis, that’s a winning combination,” says LEDIC CEO Pierce Ledbetter.

Another advantage for Greater Memphis is the wealth of high-quality providers of communications infrastructure.

“One of the advantages for uptime is that we have multiple vendors available that can provide gigabit service, so in terms of redundancy you can locate a business here and grow and know there is not going to be an outage,” says Ledbetter.

It’s yet another reason why both Ledbetter and Parker-Guest expect tech infrastructure to help lead the way to further local growth, a realization of the vision of the Greater Memphis Chamber.

“They felt it was important that Memphis become a Gig City as it would help attract more businesses to the area,” says Parker-Guest. “Nowadays you need fast, reliable Internet service that is safe and secure.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jason Zasky is a journalist, author and media entrepreneur with a background in print and online magazines. He is co-founder of Failure magazine, the critically-acclaimed online pu... more

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Fri, 12/07/2018 - 12:31