In 'most-wired' city rankings, Tampa slips
In the race among cities for bragging rights as the "most wired," Tampa did okay though it slipped in the annual ranking published today by Forbes magazine. Tampa fell to 16th among 30 major cities from 15th last year. A bit disturbing? Miami jumped considerably, Forbes noted, to 6th from 14th. And even Orlando gained, rising to 4th nationwide from 5th last year. Seattle was No. 1, deposing Atlanta which was No. 2. Here's the full story. (Photo of wireless network tracking system at Tampa's Syniverse by Daniel Wallace of the St. Petersburg Times.)
Since 2007, Forbes says it has measured cities' wired quotient by computing the percentage of Internet users with high-speed connections and the number of companies providing high-speed Internet. Since many urban residents access the Internet by wi-fi, the magazine also measures the number of public wireless Internet hot spots in a particular city.
In ranking Tampa at No. 16, Forbes found the city ranked 18th in the number of households with broadband connections, 15th in the number of companies offering high-speed Internet, and 15th in wi-fi (public Internet hot spots per capita).
Forbes also singled out a few cities. As the location of Walt Disney World, the destination of millions of tourists a year, "Orlando is packed with broadband providers and wi-fi access points," it said. Washington, D.C. jumped to No. 3 from No. 11 in one year. North Carolina suffered the biggest drop, with Raleigh declining to No. 15 from No. 3 and Charlotte dropping to No. 20 from No. 7.
Why care? Because cities increasingly are measured against one another in a broad range of services and skill sets. And broadband connections -- a critical productivity tool for business, like Syniverse, and education -- will only grow in significance as a gauge of competitive excellence.
-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist