There is little doubt that Covid-19 has changed our world for good. One of the most meaningful ways is how we work. Many employers have discovered the benefits and limitations of remote work. This presents a massive opportunity for Vermont. We are within the drive market of multiple major metropolitan areas, we have an international airport, and our quality of life was ranked #2 (behind Hawaii) by CNBC in 2019. This allows workers the flexibility to live a rural lifestyle but have relatively easy access to international travel or corporate offices should the need arise.
Here are three more great examples why rural internet service matters:
- 60% of US consumers order delivery or takeout at least once per week and prefer to order directly from the restaurant’s website instead of through a third-party app. Additionally, digital ordering is growing 300% faster than dine-in traffic. This presents a new revenue opportunity for small Vermont eateries.
- Achieving universal broadband coverage will open this new market up for many Vermont craft producers and also make available commerce and marketing tools to accelerate growth. The commercialization of craft is happening, and Vermont’s brand is well positioned to take advantage of it. As farmers markets shut down in 2020, many craft producers around the country moved online to platforms like Shopify and Etsy. Both companies are growing at an incredibly fast rate because of an influx of users. Shopify grew 260% in the past 12 months and Etsy grew 139% in the fourth quarter alone, posting $617M in revenue.
- Telemedicine has made leaps and bounds during the pandemic. It is now showing promise for rural elderly persons who have mobility issues. Vermont has few public transportation options outside of our city centers so for someone not able to drive actually getting to a doctor’s office can be the largest hurdle to accessing care. It also has the potential to allow patients to stay closer to home at a local hospital, clinic, or long-term care facility while still receiving care from a specialist hundreds or thousands of miles away. There are also benefits to remote patient monitoring devices that can notify a doctor of any concerning trends with their patients. These sorts of technologies have the potential to increase quality of life, avert chronic conditions, and reduce healthcare costs.