History of Telecom Corridor
The Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex is home to one of the most vibrant mixed-use suburbs, Richardson, Texas. Over 100,000 residents and 6,500 businesses make up the affluent, 28 square-mile city. With a heavy concentration of telecommunications, networking, and information technology companies, the Richardson Chamber of Commerce had the moniker it had unofficially been nicknamed, Telecom Corridor, trademarked.
Prior to World War II, Texas was unattractive to entrepreneurs due to its remote landscape that was difficult to access with existing infrastructure. However, in the 1950s, as the nation's interstate highway system expanded into northern Texas, commercial enterprises found Dallas' central location to both coasts an attribute. Soon after electronics giant, Texas Instruments, established its headquarters in south Richardson in 1956, economic development prospered in the area, especially in technology sectors.
The 1960s saw the establishment of the University of Texas into the heart of Richardson. This combination of technology-focused commerce and higher education made Richardson attractive for research and development ventures. With the development of mass transit systems and mixed-use properties such as shopping malls and office/living space, Telecom corridor grew rapidly in the late 20th century.
The diversity of Richardson's economy allowed a full recovery from the dotcom bust that occurred from 2001-2003. Similarly, the 2008 recession did not wreak havoc upon Telecom Corridor with the same intensity as other technology-focused economies.
While its trademark is derived from the heavy presence of telecommunications companies, the area's employment picture is diverse. The public education and health insurance sectors place second and third, respectively, in the number of white collar jobs located in Telecom Corridor. Financial services and government employees also make a strong contribution to the labor pool.
AT&T leads in hires with roughly 4,300 workers on its payroll. The main campus of the University of Texas follows AT&T with a workforce of over 3,500. A Bank of America regional office and the headquarters of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas each offer over 3,000 positions to area workers.
The Telecom Corridor's labor supply is a well-educated one. Over half of working adults over the age of 25 has an undergraduate or advanced degree while two-thirds of the total full-time workforce has some college.
Two North Dallas counties feed talent into the area: Dallas and Collin. Both counties enjoy unemployment at rates lower than the national average. Management salaries average around $150,000 annually while $100,000 is common for mid-level professional positions. Office workers, such as customer service representatives, and hands-on technical employees such as semiconductor processors or electronics assemblers can expect to earn roughly $40,000 per year.
Located 10 miles north of downtown Dallas, Richardson is the second largest employer in the Dallas/Ft. Worth metropolitan area. In 2003, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency/Dept. of Transportation named the city the "Best City for Commuters." Access to three major highways makes Telecom Corridor a desirable 15 minute drive for the over 300,000 employed there with 80,000 residing outside of proper city limits. Public transportation is excellent with Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) maintaining city-wide bus service as well as four light rail stops.
Four airports serve the area including DFW International Airport (DFW) and Love Field. DFW is located approximately 25 miles from Telecom Corridor, and provides commuters with the ability to be in any major city in the continental U.S. in less than four hours.