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March 09, 2001

Nielsen//NetRatings shows that Internet penetration reached the highest levels for West coast local markets, with Portland, Seattle and San Francisco leading the list as the most wired cities in March 2001.

The two Pacific Northwest cities of Portland and Seattle topped the list as the most wired cities in the country with nearly 70 percent of households having access to the Internet from a personal computer at home. A year ago, Portland's Internet penetration hit 54 percent, while Seattle totaled 56 percent.

"Access to the Internet has become a need rather than a luxury for the mainstream population in the U.S.," said Allen Weiner, vice president of analytical services, NetRatings. "Applications such as email and commerce have become part of our daily routine as the Web has touched our personal and professional lives."

Following closely behind Portland and Seattle were San Francisco, Boston and San Diego. The top 25 Internet local markets broke the 50 percent mark, compared to only six regions during the same time last year (see Table 1).

"All 25 Internet local markets show penetration in excess of 50 percent, signaling critical mass for most major regions in the U.S. The challenge for those who supply access as well as those distributing content and commerce is to keep up with the pace of new users, as well as serving those Web veterans who continually look for new and exciting reasons to log on," Weiner continued.

Philadelphia had the largest gain in Internet penetration, spiking 40 percent during the course of the year, out of the 20 Internet local markets measured by Nielsen//NetRatings in March 2000. Other top gainers include Detroit, which soared 38 percent, while Cleveland jumped 35 percent. Denver and New York rounded out the top five gainers, with both cities growing 34 percent in Web penetration over the past year. (see more images above for table 1)

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