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Wired wave washes over West Coast

The East Coast may have Wall Street and Broadway, but the West Coast is more wired, according to a new report.

    The East Coast may have Wall Street and Broadway, but the West Coast is more wired, according to a report released Tuesday.

    Portland, Ore.; Seattle; and San Francisco logged in as the top three most-wired cities in the United States as of March 2001, according to a report by Nielsen/NetRatings.

    Portland and Seattle, which came in first and second, reported that nearly 70 percent of all households had Internet access from their homes. San Francisco followed closely behind, reporting access from 69.1 percent of households.

    "Access to the Internet has become a need rather than a luxury for the mainstream population in the U.S.," Allen Weiner, vice president of analytical services for NetRatings, said in a statement.

    The East Coast city of Boston took fourth place, reporting 68.4 percent Internet penetration. San Diego and Washington, D.C., followed in fifth and sixth place, with 66.2 percent and 65.2 percent, respectively.

    Other cities, while reporting lower overall access, showed dramatic increases in connectivity from the same month last year. Philadelphia had the largest gain, spiking 40 percent to 56.5 percent penetration during the course of the year. Other top gainers included Detroit, which gained 38 percent to 56.4 percent, and New York, which saw a 34 percent increase in access to 55.1 percent.

    Although it's difficult to pinpoint why West Coast cities reported greater Internet penetration than those on the opposite side of the country, Weiner pointed to the strong technology presence spurred by the Silicon Valley.

    "I think because of the heavy percentage of long-time tech workers in these major West Coast cities, they are probably the first people to really insist that they have it at home," he said.

    Weiner also speculated that it might be easier to connect people on the West Coast, as those cities are newer and have more modern telecommunications infrastructure.