Washington and Wisconsin are the two best-wired states in the union for the second year in a row, according to an annual survey by conservative digital think tank the Progress and Freedom Foundation.
The foundation ranked how states used digital technology in eight areas including schools, businesses, and government.
While the fact that the home of software giant Microsoft ranked first, how well a state did had little to do with the businesses located there and more to do with who runs the programs that get governments and schools online, said foundation president Jeff Eisenach.
For instance, California, the union's most populous state and the home of Silicon Valley, ranked 24th, just after Tennessee and just ahead of South Carolina and Iowa. New York, home of Silicon Alley, ranked 33rd, just behind Mississippi.
And ranking third, fourth, and fifth, respectively, were Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Florida.
"Leadership is everything," Eisenach said. "It's like everything else involving the Web. It's not how big you are. It's s not how rich you are. It's not necessarily having good ideas. It's having entrepreneurial leaders."
In other words, states that hire talented people who understand the Net--and are given the power and authority to do what needed to be done--are the most wired, he said.
"It's important for states to seek out and reward and find a way to compensate talented people. It's the same in Silicon Valley," he added.
Eisenach said that a lot more than state pride is at stake: states that are more wired have an advantage in attracting businesses that depend on technology.
Notably, the foundation uses a relatively low-tech method for gathering data--it mails a survey to the states. Last year's survey--the foundation's first--was requested by legislators, businesses, and even court judges, said spokeswoman Jill Murphy.
"I sold or gave away 2,000 [studies] last year," she added.