America's Most Wired Cities
year, Forbes publishes a list of the U.S.'s most "wired" cities. While
these cities are of interest to "techies" as great places to live, they
are especially of interest to ICT-reliant businesses seeking new places
to set up offices and other facilities.
Number one on the list
for 2008, for the second year in a row, is Atlanta, Georgia. According
to David B. Hartnett, vice president of technology industry expansion
for the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Atlanta's top 25 technology
employers generate over $622 billion a year in revenue.
reason the city is so "wired," according to Hartnett, relates to the
1996 Summer Olympics. "When they wired the city for the Olympics, they
laid a lot of fiber," he says. "As a result, a lot of companies began
to relocate here." Then other companies were attracted by the existing
infrastructure, and more young techies moved into Atlanta to work and
live. This, in turn, provided an additional incentive for companies to
move to Atlanta - it had a "wire-wise" and "wireless-wise" young work
force ready to be hired. In fact, 2000 Census figures show that in the
years between 1995 and 2000, Atlanta led the nation in the immigration
of college-educated 24- to 35-year-olds with a strong background in
Tied for fifth place on the Forbes list is Orlando,
Florida, which until recently has been a well-kept secret, according to
John Fremstad, the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission's vice
president for technology industry development: "People usually don't
put `Orlando' and `technology' in the same sentence, because of our
strong tourism-hospitality reputation." However, he says, the area
supports a $15 billion technology industry.
"Access to the
region's strong labor pool of experienced IT talent has been a critical
contributor to our rapid growth over the last several years," says
Thaddeus Seymour Jr., vice president of product management and
marketing for CuraScript, a specialty pharmacy company in Lake Mary,
Florida, an Orlando suburb. "Orlando's commitment to future investment
in technology infrastructure, IT talent development, and information
systems innovation gives us confidence in the region's ability to
support our growth in the future."
Number seven this year,
jumping up from 10th place in 2007, is Charlotte, North Carolina.
According to Jeff Edge, senior vice president of economic development
for the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, the financial services industry
is particularly large in Charlotte. In fact, two of the largest banks
in the country are based there. "All of the information and
communications technology infrastructure that is required for this
industry is here, and this gives us a leg up."