Companies across the United States are offering remote work, providing the opportunity for employees to become digital nomads and travel the globe while working. But where should these ‘digital nomads’ go?
The team at Reviews.org came up with a list of the 10 best cities for digital nomads and found that the key to living life as a digital nomad is fast internet speed. In fact, all but one of the top 10 cities for digital nomads have average internet speeds of over 100 Megabits per second (Mbps).
Why do digital nomads need fast internet?
Digital nomads have been around for decades, but they gained in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic when it was possible to work from anywhere in the world.
But you can’t just pack your bags and set off on your journey. The most important things digital nomads need are a laptop, a cell phone and a strong internet connection. While it can be easy to find the first two things, a strong internet connection is dependent on where you move.
However, it can be hard to find a strong enough connection for Zoom calls and Google Docs while you’re in the middle of nowhere. So the big thing digital nomads need to consider before embarking on the trek of a lifetime is finding a place with a strong connection.
The top cities all have one thing in common
At Reviews.org, we decided to find the best U.S. cities for digital nomads. Forty percent of the weighted score was given to average download speed and the number of free WiFi hotspots. Internet connectivity was key to ranking the best cities.
And what did we find? All of the top cities have fast internet speed and free connection spots.
- Atlanta, GA: 114.1 Mbps average speed and 138 free WiFi hotspots
- Portland, OR: 106.2 Mbps average speed and 153 free WiFi hotspots
- Austin, TX: 104.2 Mbps average speed and 134 free WiFi hotspots
- Seattle, WA: 111 Mbps average speed and 164 free WiFi hotspots
- Phoenix, AZ: 96.2 Mbps average speed and 114 free WiFi hotspots
- Houston, TX: 115.7 Mbps average speed and 105 free WiFi hotspots
- Dallas, TX: 117.1 Mbps average speed and 96 free WiFi hotspots
- Chicago, IL: 104.1 Mbps average speed and 143 free WiFi hotspots
- Las Vegas, NV: 116.2 Mbps average speed and 65 free WiFi hotspots
- San Francisco, CA: 124.2 Mbps average speed and 119 free WiFi hotspots
These metro areas were determined to have the fastest speeds thanks to Federal Communications Commission data compiled by HighSpeedInternet.com, which discovered that the average internet speed is 89.3 Mbps and the fastest metro is separated from the slowest metro by over 95 Mbps!
So, where you decide to live can have a huge impact on how you work. If you live in Myrtle Beach, North Carolina (number 98 on our list), you might have gorgeous weather and views, but its average internet speeds are over 65 Mbps slower than metros in our top 15.
Overall, digital nomads need to have fast internet speed and numerous provider options in their metro area. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to have some WiFi spots available when you want to work outside of the house.
Becoming a digital nomad
Digital nomads have the freedom to travel and work from anywhere. With the increasing prevalence of remote work plus the ubiquity of mobile, wireless technology, anyone is able to become a digital nomad and move somewhere new. And honestly, it’s pretty awesome having the ability to travel the world without worrying about commuting to an office.
But to be a digital nomad, you need to have internet access and broadband equity is key. Without it, there’s no way you can stay connected to your work while living away from the office. Some places have better internet access than others, but overall US metros share strong internet connection and lots of WiFi hotspots.
So what are you waiting for? Pick a city from our list and start your life as a digital nomad today!
Alex Kerai is the Consumer Trends Reporter for Reviews.org where his writing and research help users tackle what lies ahead. He has spent his career writing for small businesses, entertainment companies, nonprofits, and higher education institutions, helping them align their mission and attract consumers. This piece is exclusive to BroadbandBreakfast, but the research was originally published by Reviews.org on February 7, 2023.
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