Study Finds West Coast in Digital Lead

SAN FRANCISCO (04/13/2000) - The West Coast is a hot spot for Internet access in the U.S., according to a new study.

And it's not just Silicon Valley - four of the top five cities with the most connected households are located in the West, among them San Francisco, San Diego, Seattle and Portland, Ore. The study, done by Nielsen NetRatings, measured household Net-access penetration rates in the U.S. metropolitan areas through telephone surveys. San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area lead the U.S. in number of homes with Net access.

Sixty-one percent of the region, or 2.5 million households, have Net access.

That makes the Internet almost as popular as cable for this metropolitan area.

Nationally, 68 percent of households have cable according to Nielsen Media Research. San Diego edged out both Seattle and Portland, with an Internet penetration rate of 58 percent. Washington, D.C., was the only East Coast city to make the top five. It weighed in with 56 percent.

Not to be left behind, New York surfers were clicking around the Web in droves.

Although only 41 percent of the homes in the region have access to the Net, Nielsen found that 4.3 million Net users surfed the Web in February. Net users in Los Angeles came in a strong second in total number of users, with a total of 3.6 million surfers. Traffic findings are based on February data from NetRatings' panel of Net surfers. NetRatings' data also show a strong relationship between Net penetration rates and usage time.

That is, surfers in cities with higher household Internet usage tend to spend more time online. Surfers in San Francisco, San Diego and Denver spent an average of more than 10 hours online in February, suggesting that these "areas are at the forefront of new media," says Nielsen VP Allen Weiner.

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