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Monday, 8 July, 2002, 09:08 GMT 10:08 UK
Chicago steals a lead on Silicon Valley
Graphic
Well connected cities enjoy economic growth
San Francisco and Silicon Valley may pride itself as the US technology capital but an official study of the most connected cities in America has shown that it does not even make the top five.

According to the study cities such as Chicago, Washington DC, Dallas, Atlanta and New York are much better connected than the cradle of the dot.com boom.

Contrary to many people's expectations San Francisco came in sixth.

The league table was drawn up by the National Science Foundation and is a good guide to future economic growth, say the authors of the report.

Top 10 net cities
Chicago
Washington, DC
Dallas
Atlanta
New York
San Francisco
Los Angeles
Denver
Seattle
Houston
The higher up the list a city is placed, the higher economic growth it is likely to experience over the next seven years, predicted Morton O'Kelly, an Ohio State University geography professor and co-author of the NSF report.

An efficient internet infrastructure tends to attract firms which see it as important to help them achieve their strategic goals and who see it as financially beneficial.

To draw up their league table Professor O'Kelly and graduate student Tony Grubesic counted the number of connections to and from each city through 41 net backbones.

Wired cities

Chicago came out top because there were more net paths to and from it than any other city.

Mr Grubesic said cities that are important regional nodes for air, rail and motor traffic also seem to be important when data is being moved around too.

"The internet backbones transport the valuable goods of the digital economy - information knowledge and communication," he said.

History is also at work in helping Chicago to the top spot. The city was the site of one of the early internet nodes and has become a place where a lot of data traffic is swapped between networks.

Within the US, the NSF observed regional differences.

The strongest growth in internet access between 1997 and 2000 was seen on the west coast.

This pushed eight western cities into the top 20 list of US cities.


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