In 1984 I was part of a small group of people that opened the Ericsson US offices in Richardson, Texas. At that time no one knew how many telecom related firms would eventually locate themselves in what became Telecom Prairie and ultimately Telecom Corridor. Besides Ericsson some of the early entrants were Intecom, MCI, Digital Switch Corporation, and Northern Telecom. Over time some of these companies merged with others and the area saw the entry of Alcatel, WorldCom, Huawei, Nokia and Fujitsu. When telecom went bust in 2001-2003, thousands of jobs were lost and the glow around Telecom corridor began to fade. I even left telecom for a few years and marketed supply chain management products. And when Nortel declared bankruptcy and vacated a huge complex in Richardson, it seemed that the glory days might be gone forever.
However, yesterday Fonality announced they were moving their corporate headquarters to Plano, TX (just next to Richardson) and I was reminded of the many new companies that have flocked to Telecom Corridor and the nearby cities. They include Sipera, Epygi, Cisco, ESI, Samsung, NEC, and GENBAND, now a supplier to Broadvox.
These and other technology firms have come to Northern Texas because of a great work force and good community infrastructure. I smiled as the Fonality spokesperson (I think it was their CEO, Dean Mansfield) related that one of their employees sold his two bedroom condo in California and bought a five bedroom house in the Plano area. That has been the case in North Texas for many years with housing having a great value proposition. When I moved from California to Dallas we increased the size of our home by more than 50% and paid about 30% less each month. Of course, another nice to have is no state income tax, although get ready for some of the highest property taxes in the US. All in all, working in North Texas is financially rewarding, great for business development and networking with others in the industry, and a dynamic area for family, schools and community.
To think this all began with Collins Radio (Rockwell Communications) and Texas Instruments. Telecom Prairie, Telecom Corridor, Silicon Prairie, whatever you call it, it is home for a lot of us in the IP community.
I wonder who will follow Fonality to North Texas.