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America's Most Wired Cities and Towns 134

JoeD writes "This story on Yahoo lists the 50 most net-connected cities in the US. San Francisco is #1. Austin, TX is #2. Interesting reading. "
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America's Most Wired Cities and Towns

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    With Dayton at 35, Cleveland at 30, Columbus at 29, and Cincinnati at 23, almost all of the major cities in Ohio are on the list. None are extremely high, so I think Ohio should win some kind of "king of mediocrity" award. Cincinnati Bell is doing a semi-lousy job, but this ADSL is better than nothing. Just being able to install RedHat via FTP is a lot better than forking out dough for a CD...

    Chris Moyer
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I am currently battling Time Warner Austin over its refusal to provide cable modem service to non-cable subscribers. It seems that every other Time Warner franchise has seperated out the service so it can deploy to non-cable subscribers. I'm thinking this might even fall under the Sherman Antitrust Act since by bundling the two services (ala Microsoft), it is leveraging a monopoly in cable modem service to stifle competition for television service. This policy pressures digital satellite consumers into abandoning their dishes because they'll have to buy cable if they want cable modem access. It also forces people who do not own TV sets to purchase cable tv, which they won't need. I've already filed a complaint with the Austin Telecommunications Commission which overseas Time Warner's privelege to run cable service in Austin. I'm not sure if this is something I'll neeed to bring to the attention of the FTC. I'd really appreciate any suggestions people might have regarding my efforts. Please post a response or contact me at
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 07, 1999 @05:35PM (#1900349)
    I lived there for more than twenty years and left. All of the people I grew up with in West Austin and Westlake have left as well. People from the East side whom I met at Johnston with the busing have left. Basically, Austin sucks. I moved to Houston. About half of everyone that I grew up with is in West U or Bellaire (including the black folks, which is certainly a change from West Austin, where you would be routinely stopped by police until a few years ago if you were there, black, and it was dark out). Let me be specific:

    1. What you get costs a lot: The cost of living is ridiculous. It is nearly impossible to get an apartment someplace without gunshots at night for $550-600/month. That is for an efficiency, folks. Food is more expensive. Power and water are literally three times (yes, I am serious) as in Houston, where Houston Lighting and Power (HL&P, which was called Houston Looting and Plundering for years) is known for gouging the consumers. Modest homes in Austin, an hour outside of town in the developments, go for $200,000. And the price everything, down to the cost of a taco from a roach coach on the street is notched up a little because there are 80,000 students in town, most of whom have at least partial help with income and many of whom have a lot of cash and no worries/motivation to save. You are paying resort prices, basicly, where they are trying to gouge the tourists.
    2. You can't get a job that lets you afford it: The pay scales are close to half that of the rest of Texas. This was drilled home to me when I realized that I would be paid 40% more in Alamagordo or Tulsa, twice as much in Ft. Worth or Houston. Austin pays as well as New Orleans, sometimes worse. A senior AIX or Solaris sysadmin may (MAY) make $45-50k a year. If he or she is lucky. Places like Dell, Samsung, AMD, and others are there for the cheap, young, and healthy labor that can be fired on the spot. This isn't slamming the fact that Texas is a right-to-work state -- most people don't understand how much this helps the skilled employee while not really allowing the employer to be beastly, except in Austin, because a)there are lots of people for every job, b)the people don't complain (they are kids -- they don't know that this isn't OK) (and in my experience most senior managers really don't like this at all), c)word never "gets around" drying up the labor supply because there is no "around" -- the transitory and unsettled population never develops professional ties. In most cities, if you acted like a jerk to the sysadmins, they would walk, have lunch, let people know that they were on the market, and have a job in a day or two. And they would talk, and pretty soon jerk-boss would find that he couldn't get applicants for his vacant positions. Right-to-work allows this. Austin is one of the only places where the union hack nightmare of ultimate workplace tyrany comes true. And it does, all the time. So what if I leave -- they will get someone who really needs a job and is 18 to replace me. Maybe he will screw up, so they will just fire him! So people screw over employees all the time. LOOK AT DELL. That's all I have to say. Just look at Dell. Talk to anyone who has worked at Dell. And the rest of Austin is the same. Lots and lots of people come to Austin, stay a few years, look at how they can't save any money and leave. And more people come in every day, so no one ever has any incentive to change. They just wait for the next sucker and pay $12/hr.
    3. When you get it, it doesn't work well: Austin is the home of the ripoff. Everything from city power (you will have at least one 15+ second power-off incident a day, every day, all over town except well north, where they are on TU Electric from Dallas) to car repair (places that screw you flourish -- who cares, there is always another sucker coming by) to any kind of service (waiters, police, any sort of counter attendant ..), you will get ripped off. This really sucks after a while. You learn, after a long time, where to go. Austin is really distinguished by the fact that so many places are avoided by everyone who has been there for 10+ years. This makes basic stuff really troublesome.

    I moved to Houston and a)doubled my income, b)discovered that almost everything is easier (want to buy a pressure cooker, call around and find on, and go to buy it AND IT WILL BE THERE! as opposed to not there and no one knows who told you that and no one cares too much, either ...), c)am able to save 4X what I was saving in Austin (not too big a deal, you say -- I am 29, and I would like to retire at 50, and I will get there by saving money, not by paying Austin rents and making Austin pay), and d)I have an arts scene that revolves around something other than drink specials. And people here can drive and even use their turn signal on a semi-regular basis. And my car insurance dropped by half.

    Houston still gives me Southwester Bell, but at least I have choices beyond Time Warner. The (and the RoadRunner service) suck so hard that it isn't even funny.

    And, not to put too fine a point on it, it is nice to be someplace where you can at least assume that every third person isn't stoned. Everyone screws around as a kid; Austin is where you go if you want to stay stoned for the rest of your life. Junkies and potheads are marginally funny until you have them as a boss, or until they run into you, or until you are behind several of them in line someplace and they can't decide what to eat/get/check out/buy. That gets old, man, real old. I have been in three traffic accidents. I have been hit each time. Each time the driver was stoned or drunk. I have friends who have had much worse luck. Drugs and drug people are a part of life in Austin. If you have kids, they will be doing coke by 14. Some of them will never make it back. This hasn't changed at all since I was at Doss Elementary fifteen years ago, but we never had crack. YMMV.

    And it is nice being in Houston with for other reasons. I have a black girlfriend. I am white. That doesn't fly in Austin. No one in Houston cares. The myth that Austin is a liberal mecca is sort of true -- there are a lot of liberals here. But the racism is Austin is pervasive and corrosive. Below, I noted some places that I like in Austin. One of the reasons that I like them is that they won't treat black people and Mexicans poorly, apart from the fact that they do a good job. Black people who move to Austin should be prepared for an eye-opening experience. And when they least expect it, too.

    For the record, if you are in Austin and are saying "so do you have any suggestions", if you have a VW (and I have four of them), try Boehr's German Motor Works (10+ years, the kind of place where they say "You don't need new brake lines -- they always look like that. No charge."). They do Volvos too, I think. If you need weird electronic parts or good used RAM try MC Howard Electronics (15+ years and responsible for my descent into hacking, many years ago). They have stuff like $50 486s, 2x CD-ROMs for $10, and original IBM keyboard. They don't mind Linux, either. ISPs: is very, very good, they essentially require ssh, and have threatened kiddies with baseball bats (I am told). If you need coffee, try Austin City Cofee (Ethiopians shop there for green coffee -- it is that kind of a place)(also helping my hacking for many years). Good luck if you move there. Have an exit plan in place.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 07, 1999 @04:26PM (#1900350)

    I hate to break it to you, but Pac*Bell [] is the best of the RBOC's (the baby bells), nationwide, according to my friends who run national ISPs. Be glad you don't live in NYNEX [] or GTE [] territory.

    The real problem is that legacy telephone companies are so invested in voice telephony and circuit switching that packet switching is a mystery to them. They Don't "Get It." They can generally be trusted to run wires or give you a point-to-point bit-pipe (i.e. a dedicated leased line), but never ask them for a switched data service (e.g. frame relay, ATM, SMDS) because they'll always fuck it up. ISDN is a borderline case, because it looks and smells like voice to them, but it has never been tariffed (priced) correctly: ISDN calls should have the same price as voice calls.

    There was an article in Wired [] a while ago called, The NetHeads versus The BellHeads [] which described some of this cluelessness, and how Internet companies are eating the RBOCs and other LECs alive.

    If you're looking for xDSL service, best to go with one of the Competitive LECs, e.g. Covad [], or NorthPoint [], because it's a lead-pipe cinch that your RBOC will hose up the Internet part of xDSL, even if they get the basic bit-pipe right.

    The City of Stockholm, Sweden got it right - they laid down dark fibre all over the city, and then set up a city-owned corporation [] to lease it out to all comers. This makes it easy to get really high speed data service at low prices. Right on the edge of the Silicon Valley, the City of Palo Alto, California [] has the same opportunity (i.e. they've laid down the dark fibre) but they're hesitating to actually use it! (idiots)

  • Woho! I was just gonna say the same thing!

    Where else in the world does the Papa Johns delivery guy ask if he can hop on your computer to check his email ;-)? (Hrm... Dino's was better pizza... sucks that they closed... Triple Treat was a gift from God...)


  • ... I can tell that Bethlehem, PA isn't on the list... hell, I can only get one way cable modem (which is lame) because we're "too far from a fiber"...

    just venting some frustration with my current location :)
  • Why? Probbaly because very little has been done to improve how "wired" Blacksburg is. Espically in terms of access, while some residences have high speed ethernet, those are often in the minority of all the housing in town. Cable Modems are availble, but are still one way and frow what I've heard not to relible. DSL Service is also availble, but has a $200+ installation fee. Most internet users in Blacksburg still have to modem, which means slow connecitons.
  • So, we're trying to get DSL right outside Georgia
    Tech, about three blocks from the BS tower, and
    they can't get us DSL. We really want DSL.
    But they can't even figure out who to talk to to
    see when our area will be upgraded to allow for
  • Posted by The Incredible Mr. Limpett:

    I live in St. Paul right now (#8) and grew up in San Francisco (#1). Top 10 at all times! woo hoo!

    I remember being wired back in 1989 in SF. Had 2 university UNIX accounts and a few BBS accounts going just for good measure
    "Wars, conflict, it's all business. One murder makes a
    villain. Millions a hero. Numbers sanctify."
  • In the judging criteria, they stated that they measured domain density as the number of commercial .com addresses in an area.

    That's not fair to places with loads of networking 'service' via .edu or .gov.

    I can't figure out what the logic was behind restructing it to .com, other than to deliberately favor commercial use of the nyet as somehow "more important" than noncomercial use.

  • Bring your fat capital and keep this boomtown rolling. It kicks ass around here.

    Don Negro
  • The article mentioned statistics from the US Census Bureau. In that case, I'm guessing they break it up the same way... "San Francisco" on their list would mean San Francisco and San Mateo Counties (the Peninsula); "San Jose" means Santa Clara County (South Bay, Silicon Valley); and "Oakland" means Alameda County (East Bay). Those seem to match their 1.5 million population numbers for SF and SJ.

    At first when I saw SF was #1, I thought, "Groan. They must have lumped San Jose in as part of San Francisco again." (It's mildly annoying considering San Jose is the bigger city but far and away lesser known of the two. People outside the area seem to always call the whole Bay Area "San Francisco", even though SF is really just the 6x8-mile city at the tip of the peninsula.) But I see they did separate them after all - their criteria was weighted in favor of the (rather nebulous) hosts per capita figure. I can believe that SF's financial district and the peninsula cities could dominate that. So at least they had an explanation for how their numbers turned out that way. San Jose was highest in the categories you'd expect for Silicon Valley... users accessing the Net from work and .com domains per thousand licensed businesses.

    FYI... for more info, here are the pages for San Jose [], San Francisco [] and the Assoc of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) [].

  • Here in the Bay Area, you can get 384k/128k for 80 a month, but only with 1 IP address, and you have to go through pacbell. if you want more IPs, or more bandwidth, the price shoots up to at least 200 or so... That's what we pay. I think I'm getting bled, but I'd rather not IP masquerade...
  • The way this state operates, I wouldn't be surprised if Philadelphia came around the bottom of the list. Oh, well... no wonder Pennsylvania got the motto "Cook with coal"...
  • Say, if all the roads in North America were like those here in Pennsylvania, we'd all need to drive Humvees.
  • I'm currently a Road Runner and TWC subscriber, and although I enjoy my cable TV, I do have one gripe. They charge you an addition $10/month if you don't subscribe to their biggest channel package, which costs $20/month more than the previous level.

    Could you tell me more about your complaint to the ATC? I'd like to file a complaint, too.

    Timur Tabi
    Remove "nospam_" from email address

  • It's hard to believe that so many people are taking this article serious. Doesn't it bother you when the judging criteria includes:

    "Content Quality - In this category, we analyzed government, media, and cultural sites and assigned them overall rankings."

    How subjective can you get.

    My bias for my hometown has me believing that Atlanta should be higher than #9. Three years ago, Atlanta was the most wired city in the world as a result of the Olympics. I've had cable modem to my house for about eighteen months now. And I've been offered DSL three times in the last six months.
  • like others above from SF, I'm sort of surprised by ZD's award. DSL, you name it, it really bites here in San Francisco.
  • As a proud Ohioan...I always will say that our great state is a little bit on the underestimated side (well, except for maybe Dayton, which is just a big suburb of Cincinnati.)

    The explanation as to how Cincy beat the other Ohio metropolitan areas is not the most explicit in the world; my impression is that Columbus is the more technology oriented area in Ohio.

    Someone said that the Road Runner system in Columbus has the most users of any of the nation's cable modem networks (it certainly was one of the first.) Can anyone confirm that?
  • I'd have thought that it was Dallas that was #1 or #2...
  • They're popping up all along the Dallas North Tollway corridor.
  • Never lived in austin but I can certainly tell you some things about houston (where I live):

    (a) My house is brand new, has 4 bedrooms + 2 car garage - cost 120K

    (b) The job market for programmers in unbelievable here - the headhunters are like buzzards calling all the time trying to steal your good people. If you're any good at all you get 50K - if you're great you can earn twice that

    (c) There are a lot of oil/gas companies here which means there are lots of alternative programming jobs to the normal banking/database/vb fare - its no problem to get a position where you use real computer science on a daily basis

    (d) It is the 4th largest city in the country so you can see/do/buy pretty much anything

    (e) I've had a cable modem for more than two years - works great, very speedy

    Houston is a great place to live - I don't know of anywhere else (that's not a small town) where the ratio of what you get paid versus what it costs to live is so favorable.
  • Well I think that the reason that Omaha has so much fiber that you can bury people with their computers and they _still_ get better connections than I do, is because it's basically the largest city in the geographic center of the US.

    This made it a favorite switching station for the phone companies - LOTS of calls get routed through Omaha.

    IIRC, from a book I have (the name escapes me - if anyone's interested say so and I'll dig it up) in the planning stages for the ARPANet, a centralized system was considered, which would probably have also been in Omaha. Then they decided to go with the distributed topology. At least, that was the idea anyhow.

    But the point is that while there's a lot of fiber there, there are not as many connections that originate there, and that's more interesting for the poll.
  • At least Orlando has wind. I'm from Tallahassee and it's hotter in the summer, colder in the winder, no wind ever, and last I heard piss poor prospects for DSL &| cable modems.

    Currently I'm in Boston, which is better (although in Boston proper, we have few cheap high speed connections. It's beginning to change though. Suburbs are better for that)
  • Ditto that. Until DSL rolled out in '99, SF was a broadband desert. No @home, only TCI's crappy cable monopoly. I was considering either satellite or a wireless T1 to Berkeley when ADSL finally arrived.

    The article says SF got high scores for the number of net hosts per resident. This score is high due to the large number of commuters, who don't count in the residence figures, but have PC's on their desks which count as SF hosts. Most of these people work in dynamic industries like banking and insurance.

    Probably SF is top 5 in toilets per resident too, if that's any consolation.
  • by PCM2 ( 4486 ) on Friday May 07, 1999 @03:33PM (#1900374) Homepage
    It may be #1 on the list of most-connected cities by Yahoo's criteria, but overall its communication infrastructure is terrible! So far there are no cable modems available in San Francisco. DSL coverage is good, but you deal with Pacific Bell -- and as near as I can tell, the particular branch of Pacific Bell with the worst overall service out of their entire market.

    I have not had an acceptable voice phone line in San Francisco in something like 3 years -- meaning, either it's multiplexed using a box called a "dammel", or it has persistent (but intermittent) interference. Either way, the quality of the lines is so poor that you can't count on a consistent modem connection from them.

    Meanwhile Pacific Bell offers great (read: competition-squashing) rates on DSL, but with a catch -- you have to use your existing, poor-quality phone pair for it.

    Not that you'd want to get a new phone line for your DSL connection from Pac Bell -- installation appointments FREQUENTLY fall behind due date, because when the service tech arrives you're told there are no facilities to give you a phone. (Typically they blame "all those people with their modems and fax machines and their Internet".)

    And don't get me started on my experience with a Pacific Bell Frame Relay connection. You can't even count on them sending the right encoding over the wire from month to month.

    OK, telecom companies-- Yahoo! says San Francisco is where you want to be! Everyone here wants "in" on the Internet! Now somebody come and save us from this drought of decent service!

  • Houston at number 26? My apartment complex wires Ethernet right into the units. Show me another city that has that!

    Several places in Austin have ethernet net connections available. The place my roommate used to live was setting their's up right before he bought his house. This was a year and a half ago.

    Now if they would fix the pair gain problem in our neighborhood so we can replace our ISDN with DSL.

  • Well, (here in Austin) you can get 128k up / 384k down for $40/month from SWBell, and you can get ISP services from SWBell for $10/month. However, I've heard that the SWB service on the ISP is horrible, and that latency can get to 300-400ms, etc. Jump Point ( is supposed to be much better, for $30/month. I can't verify any of this firsthand, though.

    Where'd you get the higher numbers? Are you looking at more bandwidth & static IPs?
  • Do you have any experience w/ SWBell as an ISP? I heard horror stories of 30Kbps...
  • Umm, hi. I don't know if you live out here but how can you consider San Jose part of the San Francisco metro area? It's a long damn way from SF to SJ, with Santa Clara, Daly City, South SF, and a zillion other little burgs standing in-between.

    As for you other point, there are plenty of major peering points in SF. China Basin has a really massive coloc facility. There are several others.

    Take a walk in SOMA in zone bounded by market, first, townsend, and 3rd. Walk around in the streets and look at the spraypaint on the blacktop. Those little words that say "USA", "GC", "ATT", "PBI", "SPRINT", "MCI", "ABV", and many, many more are the names of major bandwidth providers. There is so much fiber buried under 2nd street that there isn't room for any more.

  • Internet in Albany, NY seems pretty damn expensive compared to even Utica or NYC.

    1) Most dailup connections (not all 56k either) start at around $20 and the most populuar are about $25. This is much higher then other local areas. Connections are extermely on reliable, frequent disconnects and websites not loading is the norm (I've switch ISPs like 5 times and used other machines it seems to be a problem in general).

    2) Cable Modems are both hard to get and are really expensive. Prices start slightly short of $45 a month on top of cable TV, only from Time Warner/RoadRunner. So if you don't have Time Warner, you don't get a cable modem, even people living a few miles from the city are screwed in that way.

    3) ADSL is super expensive even for a cheap up 128/down 356 connection, starting at like $60-70, lacking features that other places throw in for free (like static ip). Only providor of this in the area is Bell Altantic, and again it doesn't reach far out of the city at all.

    It's too bad the connections are so expensive and so unreliable.
  • I just read a thing about Omaha being one of the most wired place in the world. So much bandwidth you can fly a kite on the temporal distortion induced by the sheer amount of data delta-vee.

    A hellish amount of fiber coming into town. Three companies competing to provide you with cable modem service. Plus ADSL just about everywhere as well.

    Sounds like this study is just one of those "43% of all statistics are made up on the spot" stories.
  • SAC is over, SAC is done. It's all been moved to Colorado Springs. Nothing is left here but a Museum. (Or so they say anywayz)
  • I agree -- I don't know how accurate these results are. I'm in a small town of 30,000 people and we have cable modems for $30 a month through the utilities company. There's fibre optics running throughout our little town.
    Resume []
  • Can #1 be for real?? 13,000 wired hosts per 1,000 inhabitants? Sounds a little 'inflated' to me - did somebody misplace a decimal point on their survey? Otherwise there must be warehouses chock full of servers.

    BTW - we're #41 Woo-Hoo! (thought it would be worse, actually - but houses are affordable)

  • I can think of close to 20 complexes in Austin that have Ethernet access, not to mention all the dorm kids that have access also.

    I can't wait till SDSL is offered in Austin, it's supposedly will have a better coverage area than the 40% adsl coverage that SWbell provides.
  • They FINALLY moved their news server off NT and onto something that WORKS??!!! WOOHOO!!! That was one of the biggest complaints people have had since I have been on, (since 9/98). That's a step in the right direction. The problem is that they say mgt from on high has mandated that it is NT. Also that this is to be the model for the rest of the rollouts. I guess Money Talk$.
  • by Compay ( 12102 ) on Friday May 07, 1999 @04:18PM (#1900386) Homepage

    Does this bother anyone else? In order to read the article you had to click on 7 links and be exposed to 3 or 4 advertisiements per page. This seems to be a trend on the big news sites. For the folks on a 14.4 in Brazil and Indonesia this pretty much makes some sites inaccessible and adds useless junk to the total bandwidth load of the 'net.

    Oh well, there's always Lynx. :-)

  • Blacksburg, VA has had ethernetted apartment complexes for over six years. I'm not impressed.
  • Hehehe, é duro competir com estudantes com um bocado de tempo livre e um T1 nas mãos ;-)
  • woo! Portland placed one spot ahead of NYC. Let's hear it for my home town! WOO!!
  • I do live arround here, Palo Alto to be precise.
    San Jose is 40 miles from San Francisco but it's all one continuous city. Did you check the population numbers? 1.5 Million for each. That means they included a lot of those little burgs.
    (for those who don't know, SF and SJ only have populations if 600k and 700k respectively)
  • San Francisco and San Jose are part of the same metro area. Further, the really monsterous clusters are not within the city limits of either.
    PAIX, MAE*West, Exodus, PB*NAP, Frontier,...
    NONE of these are actually in San Francisco or San Jose. But they're closer to San Jose than San Francisco. San Francisco is, relatively speaking, not a high tech place. No major peering points, no major co-lo facilities. Limited DSL. No cable modems. I think they gerrymandered the Peninsula onto the San Francisco ledger just so they could put the cute cable car photo on the page.
  • I don't think the addresses are lifetime. My older brother's address expired 3-4 years after he graduated. Granted, he wasn't using it, so maybe they let you keep it if you actively use it.
  • man, do i feel your pain. bell atlantic has no dsl, and jones won't give me a cable modem, and i live right in reston, va. i can't believe how much this area's connectivity sucks, especially when network solutions is a 5min drive from house, psinet is even closer, and of course there's uunet here too. 288 sucks!!!
  • My vote is for USWest. Just two days ago, some tech at our local CO decided to removed the cross connects on one of our PRI's. W.T.F.!!! They also perpetually complain that they don't have enough capacity because of all those darn modem users, while at the same time running huge ad campaigns trying to get you to buy a second line for your modem!!!

    Actually, I think I would have to conclude that they pretty much all suck. I'm not sure that the cable companies are much better, but at least the towns that have both will get a little competition.
  • Quite a few places in Austin offer this, The Metropolitan comes to mind immediately.

    Austin's also relatively cheap to run your own line in, too.
  • Yah, but if your business doesn't have at least a tiny bit of web-presence via citysearch or austin360, you're pretty much non-existant in many eyes.

    I've been taking Austin's ridiculous amount of wiredness for granted, but so damn few other towns have not one, not two, but three quality websites that tell you everything you want to know about where to eat, where to dance, where to drink, and where to loung around the next day!!
  • Blacksburg, VA was the original super-freak and yet not on the list? I guess it wasn't fair competition. I've lived in Orlando and have friends there and they aren't nearly as connected as we are here in blackburg.

    I can't wait til we get the OC12 here in the park. No one can compete with that speed!
  • According to the article, San Francisco has 13,000 hosts per every 1,000 individuals. Given 1.655 million people, that comes to 21.5 hosts...

    That can't be right. I know there is a shitload of tech industry, but almost 20 million more hosts than people? Maybe they lumped MAE West in with them or something... or their methods are flawed.
  • I wouldn't say it's too small to be listed as a town. I wasn't expecting it to be under the city listing.

    And about the domains, I'd be surprised to find out that college kids hadn't registered enough domains to put us on the map. Much moreso than other towns.

    Regardless, since they don't even have Va Tech included in their 200 Most Wired Schools list, I don't give this report much credibility.
  • Blacksburg, VA is the home of Virginia Tech. We were a testbed for AT&T to see what would happen if a small town got connected. For example, the flower shop has a web page, as does the local cd store. I have a direct 10baseT ethernet connection to my ISP via the ethernet port in the wall of my apartment.

    Reader's Digest has done stories on us entitled, "The Most Wired Town In America". Oddly, we're not even mentioned on that page.

    Check out the Blacksburg Electronic Village [] if you care ;)
  • You lived in Orlando? I feel for you. It's always like 3,000 degrees with a hot wind. And it's boring as hell. And it's responsible for the Backstreet Boys and N'Sync. I have friends who went to UCF (they call it U Can't Finish for a reason) for a single semester before they came home to Tampa Bay to go to USF because they nearly died of boredom and apathy while in Orlando. What a hellish little town in the middle of nowhere. Ugh.

    Sorry for the anti-Orlando rant, but I've been to Miami, Jacksonville, Tampa Bay, the Keys, and Orlando; the only one that doesn't fit is Orlando. It's like it's in another state, but only 90 miles away.


  • I think a lot of people expected this to be an article listing the 50 most connected cities in the US.

    If you looked at the criteria, or *gasp* read much of the article, you saw it was based on real basic statistics such as surfing from home and/or work, domains per business, etc., NOT how fast do you surf, how big a pipe can your ISP lay to your front door for $XX, mobile network connections, PC's per capita, ....
    I would like to see a survey on some of those criteria, personally.
  • San Francisco is, relatively speaking, not a high tech place. No major peering points, no major co-lo facilities. Limited DSL. No cable modems. I think they gerrymandered the Peninsula onto the San Francisco ledger just so they could put the cute cable car photo on the page.

    You're talking about network infrastructure which wasn't factored into their analysis at all. They were trying to go for the city with the biggest sociological and economic investment in "the net" in general, not the city with the biggest pipe.
  • In Seattle, TCI Cable provides cable modem service (via At Home). Unfortunately, it is not actually available in Seattle proper. It's only available in West Seattle and Mercer Island, two small parts of town. bummer..

    The phone company offers DSL, but not in all areas. You must live within 1-2 miles of your neighborhood phone hub.

    This demonstrates how the cable and phone companies really are monopolies. The offer poor service in a limited section of Seattle. I know so many people who want either cable modems or DSL.. and there is no company able to fill their desires! These monopolies are leaving money on the table.

    Mr Government: let other companies swoop in and start some real competition!
  • I live in Seattle and fully disagree with your comments. TCI has just upgraded their network (at least in Ballard, i'm sure in many other places) so now I get about twice as many channels and am eligable for a cable modem.

    I've had USWorst DSL for a few months and it works great. I get 640kbps up/270kbps down for $40 (soon to be $30) a month + $20 for my isp. Its true that you have to be ~15000 feet from the CO, but this is just a limitation of DSL and nothing bad about the phone company.

    Covad also offers service in the Seattle area. They have many isps to choose from and a large coverage area. They can force USWorst to give you dry copper and offer iDSL (DSL over IDSN) if you are over 15000 feet away from the CO.

    Basically it seems that anywhere in the city you should be able to get some sort of broadband connection for not much money.
  • Check out Most Wired Towns []. A city had to be of a certain size before it was rated. Yahoo then rated the most wired town for each state.
  • I went to Virginia Tech, and Blacksburg is
    definitely the most wired town in America.
    But I think the criteria was chose so that
    San Francisco would win.

    San Diego is number 7, we have had cable modem
    service for 2.5 years in select areas, and now
    the entire city is covered, but we're number 7.
    DSL and Cable modem service was just starting to
    appear in the Bay Area late last year.

    I don't get it.

  • "San Francisco" is
    San Francisco, San Mateo, and Marin counties.
    "San Jose" is
    Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties.
    "Oakland" is
    Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

    [This has irritated me for years.]
  • Why ?

    Blacksburg isn't large enough to be considered a major metropolitan area, yet was too large to make it into "most wired small towns".

    And besides, by the scoring criteria, you'd lose due to low domain density: almost everyone is either or Like the MindCraft Test, it's all how you define your parameters...

  • by zagmar ( 20261 )
    So why is DSL so damned expensive? When I was living in Hawaii, GTE was talking ADSL at $80/month including phone, internet account, and modem rental. Here in Austin, it's $80/month for just the line and modem, and and extra $40/month for an internet account. Hawaii put out cable modems a year ago, Time-Warner has yet to do a wide distribution. Grr...
  • Cupertino and Santa Clara both have wired apartment buildings, and I think the new condos in downtown San Jose are wired.
  • No wonder we have this shitty isdn and flaky ISP instead of frac T.

    Shouldnt have left school. Although we do have cat5 100-T for our internal net which really is 10 times faster than the net at UC.

    Or, move back to Frisco, get the juicy bandwidth and pay 10 times the rent ...
  • you'd be surprised. there's a lot of internet related business in austin and it's a pretty wired town.

    having said that, i also have (and do) spent a lot of time in dallas and it's got a lot of telecommunications and computer industry too. i'm a little surprised they arent higher than 10.

    the one that surprises me the least is New Orleans being almost at the bottom. (i spend a lot of time there too) must be all that partying...

    it's kind of amusing that Washington D.C. scored so high, but the majority of our elected officials are so techno-illiterate.
    course...i suppose it got bonus points since the inventor of the internet is the v.p. right?

  • roadrunner also requires you to have cable service (at least the basic package) and the rates for roadrunner service vary depending on what level of cable service you have.

    i talked to them last night about it when getting my cable scheduled for hookup....with the classic package (all the standard channels + scifi, history, discover, etc) and HBO, roadrunner is gonna cost me something like $60/month.

    if they can fix their problems with their network (they already moved the news server to a unix if they'll just move the rest of it off NT), i might actually keep the service...but for now it's just to tide me over until ADSL is available to my apt. (which the phone guy says will be around the end of this year).

    ...just in case other people from austin might be interested in that stuff.

  • i'm amused that Commerce, Tx. won for Texas...

    I used to live there and used to work for Koyote Internet (the isp they specifically mention) and while koyote has some great equipment and offers isdn and adsl at good rates, commerce itself has such a terrible phone system that you cannot get over a 28.8 connection and isdn isnt supported by the phone co. (koyote got around this by housing the server is a better place).

    and TAMU-Commerce (i went there) has incredibly bad problems with it's lan and with it's user/modem ratio. they did start wiring the dorms for ethernet, but if you had to dial in, good luck. they actually instituted a 20 minute limit at one point. (after 20 mins they'd kick your connection).

  • is there a tech industry in hawaii? thats about only place id leave ess eff for.
  • See

    Just got 1.54/384k personal for $200 per mo.

    You can get 384k/128k for $69 per mo (comes with a few dhcp addrs and 5gig per/mo).

    Over and out,

  • Hmm. I don't necessarily agree with everything you've said here. While I've been in Austin less than one year, I don't see many of the things you are talking about. I am also 29 and I'm making in the mid-80s as a senior NT developer. There aren't enough people to fill jobs where I work, so employers are careful how they act. I don't find it expensive here, but I moved here from the Northwest and have never lived anywhere else in Texas. A top-of-the-line one bedroom apartment with a garage for $950 isn't exactly expensive, at least not for anywhere I've lived. Really, the salaries aren't bad here, besides, I can't imagine making 85k in Houston. Also, having been to Houston twice, I wouldn't exactly say it's quite the mecca you make it out to be.

    You are right about a few things that I've noticed in Austin... People definitely don't use turn signals, and there are ripoffs ( being the largest band of criminals I've seen.) I don't think there are anymore ripoff artists then anywhere else, though.

    Now, if you're making 100k in Houston with huge amounts of stock options, and spending $500 on a top-notch 2 bedroom apartment, let me know. :)

  • Nope. Philly, number 21. You're right, though. Maybe someday these people will learn how to make a decent road.
  • TCI also won't add new cable channels to their 'regular' service, they want you to buy Digital Cable. There are only few small suburban cities (Edmonds, for example) with services that haven't yet been bought out by TCI. Viacom died a while ago, and now TCI's services are really lacking from slightly south of Seattle on up through the city.

    In places where they *used* to receive service from Viacom, they have at least 25% more cable channels (than those that have been TCI longer, i.e. the city and some suburbs) at the same rate. If you want good cable, go live in a dorm at the UW: of course then you get *local* phone service to everywhere from Everett down to Tacoma, on the downside you have to deal with K20 and their networks.

    TCI brags that they offer 'cable modems', but it's rare (as you've pointed out). I know that the cable company in Edmonds offers normal ISP services (at a discounted rate to cable customers), but I doubt any cable modem services.

    You don't have a choice as to who your cable provider is (it's either TCI or by chance something like Edmonds), and in most cases you can only choose your long distance provider.

    If you don't go to the UW, chances are your speed will only get up to 56k... unless you live close to the phone hub, then you're lucky.

    When I move *back* to Seattle (3 years), I sure hope things have changed. Until then, I'll live in the middle of nowhere (Pullman) connected to a T1 through my apartment as an ISP, and work at the University using their T3s (though K20 has horribly routed service).

  • Thanks to the lovely connectedness here in town, everyone and their dog are buying up broadband for residences now. The apartments I'm living in are managed by a company (Archstone) who are planning to install broadband as a standard part of all new compleces. However, I got disgusted with the cable modem's lack of a decent ISP for the incredibly cool technology, and I've reluctantly turned in the cable modem when I moved. Instead we're going to try out something called Nobell ( - sorry I'm tired and it's too late to bother with html tags) which is an encrypted, packet-based wireless broadband service. 3MBs symmetric, 6" dish outside the apartment, $40 a month. Pretty sweet =). Oh yeah, and NAT Ok and IXC upstream. Screw C&W.

  • Hi, self! Err, try 3 megaBITS per second.
  • Well, if you look at their population figure for SFO, it's quite low. I don't know how they came up with it, but it doesn't match the census figures for CMSA or even PMSA.
  • Having read your post, I have to disagree with several of the things you're saying. Having moved from Houston (8 years) to Austin (1 year), I think I have some pretty solid grounds for disagreeing.

    (1) You say Austin costs more than Houston.

    Some things are more expensive, yes. But as for housing prices in Austing being more expensive than in Houston, that's a big lie. Admittedly, a house on the edge of town in Austin is a bit more expensive than a house on the edge of town in Houston. But you're forgetting that the edge of town in Austin is about 15 minutes from downtown, whereas the edge of town in Houston is about 45. For a home that's comparably far from town, Austin is actually cheaper than Houston. We just bought a 1700-square-foot home in an upscale area of SouthWest Austin, 15 minutes from work, with very good public sdhools, for easily less than $150k. I challenge you to find a comparable inner-loop home in Houston for anywhere close. My family and I did look in Houston, and I can assure you it's not going to happen. We would have had to wait another couple years before we could have afforded to make a reasonable downpayment on a home in Houston. And we would still probably have had to worry about private school. HISD is reasonably good, as far as big-city school districts go, but I'm much happier with the schools to which my children will be going in Austin.

    I will agree, however, that restaurant food is a bit more expensive and not quite as good in Austin. Of course, Houston has one of the most diverse and competetive dining scenes I've ever seen. Since Houston is a major international port city, though, this should come as no surprise.

    As far as your comments about HL&P, I disagree. I've always found Houston Lighting and Power to be a very good power company with very reasonable prices. Right now, my Austin-area community's electric company is Pedernales Electric Cooperative, and I find their prices to be comparable with HL&P.

    (2) You say you can't get a decent-paying job in Austin.

    I actually got both a raise and stock options in my start-up for moving to Austin. If I had wanted to go to a startup in Houston, I would have needed to take a pay-cut. During the last down-turn in the oil industry, I looked for jobs in both Austin and Houston, and found that the Austin companies were a LOT more eager to talk to me. In order to get the Houston companies off their butts, I had to pester them, tell them I was getting offers from Austin companies, etc. Now I'm a software developer, not a sysadmin or a dba, so that may make a difference. Austin is definitely more of a developer's town than an admin's town. If you want to do any interesting development in Houston, you need to work at an oil-company research lab (I did). But the rest is a lot of vb, glorified dba, legacy middleware interfacing. Nice-paying work, if you can stand it.

    (3) You say Austin is the home of the rip-off.

    You try and find a good mechanic anywhere. It wasn't easy in Houston, and it wasn't easy in Austin. As for the power company, I haven't encountered any of the brown-outs that you complain about. Nor have I had any run-ins with druggies or encountered any of the rude service you complain about. My insurance rates actually went down a fair bit when I moved to Austin. Houston has one of the highest car-insurance rates in the country because of all the unlicensed, uninsured drivers, the red-light-running, etc.

    As far as cultural events and such, Houston does have more and bigger festivals. But Houston doesn't have a music scene to compare with Austin's. The Houston Symphony may be better, but what's it going to be like after Eschenbach leaves at the end of this season? Without Eschenbach, they'll probably sink back to being just decent competition from the students at Rice's Sheperd School.

    (4) You say Austin is racist.

    Austin is not as culturally diverse as Houston -- it's not exactly the international port city that Houston is. But as far as racist, I'd pick Austin any day over Atlanta, St. Louis, you name-em. And if you think Houston isn't racist, go visit Kingwood or Southside Place.

    (5) Things you forgot.

    You forgot to mention that Houston has NO interesting nature nearby and the summers get pretty hellacious and humid. Austin summers are almost as hot, but a LOT less humid. And the nature is beautiful. The hills and cedar, the bluebonnets, all the parks. It's just no competition. In Houston, you either have to drive an hour or two to the beach, or go an hour out of town to see what? Pristine swamp? Save it. Houston has nothing like the hill country.

    Also, you have forgotten to mention the problems with working in the oil industry. I got out of the oil industry because I was tired of dealing with the constant cyclical ups-and-downs -- and management's idiotically short-signed reactions to them. Everyone I know who is over 40 and working in the oil industry is just trying to make it past enough layoff cycles that they can retire. They wish they'd gotten out of oil ten years ago while they still had a reasonable shot at starting something new and going somewhere with it. And I'm not knocking the people I worked with -- they were great people. But they were trapped in a lousy industry. I'd much rather be working in an industry like e-commerce where growth is the focus in stead of cost-cutting, and where people are looked at by upper management as valuable contributors rather than expenses. And if you live in Houston and want to do cool development stuff like e-commerce, games, or compiler technologies, you've pretty much got to go to Austin.

    In summary, are you sure you're not a troll? The picture you paint looks a little bit like Austin and a little like Houston, but not enough that I'd recognize either of the cities you describe as either Austin or Houston if you hadn't told me up front.

  • I thought the SAC base there had lots to do with Omaha being wired, I remember reading in the Straight Dope that lots of telemarketers take advantage of the surplus of phone lines that SAC needs.
  • Shhh, I enjoy my 20 minute commute, and decent housing 100k that lets my wife stay home with our daughter. Let's not push Rochester until I can get my lakeside cottage.

  • Not long ago in Boardwatch magazine, there was a story about a small town in Western Kentucy where the city utility commission installed fiber optic controls for its substation.

    Without realizing it, the city fathers had wired the entire town with 10-base-T. They eventually started an ISP. Instead of modems, they supplied everyone with ethernet cards. They also supplied cable TV service and dial tone.

    Until more and more towns get wired, the Internet will not be ubiquitous. And POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) companies just don't have a real clue. They are too rate oriented to get a clue that digital is in and analog needs as much help as possible to die quickly.

    Do you think cable companies and ISP would survive long if they charged by the minute?

    I noticed a lot of the postings about Blackburg, Va., but that is old news. Most of these Internet surveys don't use good research about recent history ... because That's so 10 minutes ago.

  • Yeah! It isn't fair to make the people that use the net pay for it. Lets tax the offliners, build a really fast net, and have FREE access!!! I can have my Quake and someone else can pay for it. We'd have to put tax breaks in for people who run Quake servers, though. To make it fair.
  • You think that's bad, I live in seattle (yes, number 3 on the list) and I can't get cable or adsl right now. I'm in a suburb but not bfe by any means.
  • I hate some of you people ... Atlanta has Cable modem for 18 months, ppl with DSL .. man I live in Somerset MA, No cable, no ADSL no nothing, and with ISDN prices beiing ridiculous I start wondering if it's not time to move ...

  • 34th? Not bad for a city that's supposedly falling apart ... reports of our demise are greatly exaggerated. :P

  • ...deserves special demerit points for still having virtually nobody offering DSL or cable modems. Millions of people in the few square miles covered by Manhattan alone, and you can't get services that are available in some godforsaken suburban mallrat nest elsewhere. It's enough to make me move to Dayton. Just kidding. Obviously.
  • I dunno why so many posters seem to be complaining about shoddy internet support from PacBell. Admittedly, it did take three weeks from the time I originally requested DSL installation until the outside contractor -- Prime Services Group -- actually arrived to do it. Oh, and that I had to wait on hold for three hours that same afternoon for PacBell to get the router to recognize my IP. However, it's hard to argue with the end result: $40/month and 180K/sec consistently. Anyone considering DSL from PacBell in the SF area shouldn't hesitate: it's well worth it.

Some people carve careers, others chisel them.