Statistics Canada (2010) Canadian Internet Use Survey Ottawa: Statistics Canada

From the report

In 2009, 80% of Canadians aged 16 and older, or 21.7 million people, used the Internet for personal reasons, up from 73% in 2007 when the survey was last conducted.

Rates were highest at 85% in both British Columbia and Alberta, followed by 81% in Ontario. Among census metropolitan areas, the highest rates of Internet use were reported in Calgary and Saskatoon, both at 89%.

Digital divides on the basis of income, education and age narrowed between 2007 and 2009. However, where income was greater than $85,000 a year, 94% used the Internet, compared with 56% usage of those with incomes less than $30,000 a year.

Of those aged 45 or older, two-thirds (66%) went online during 2009, up from 56% in 2007. This age group, traditionally slower to adopt and use the Internet, accounted for 60% of all new Internet users since 2007.

A similar proportion of men (81%) and women (80%) used the Internet in 2009.

Most (96%) Internet users aged 16 or older reported going online from home during 2009. Among people who accessed the Internet from home in 2009, 92% did so with a high-speed connection, up from 88% two years earlier. In 2009, 53% of home users were connected to the Internet by cable and 33% by telephone. Other types of home connections, mostly wireless, increased to 23% in 2009 from 13% in 2007. In the Atlantic provinces, 41% of home users were connected by telephone, while 57% were connected by cable in Quebec and British Columbia. In the Prairie provinces, 30% reported other types of connections.

53% of home users under the age of 30 went online to download or watch TV or movies, while 45% of this age group reported contributing content.

In reporting on this report, the Globe and Mail stated that Canada ranked 17th workdwide in the total number of Internet users (21.7 million aged 17 years or older). China is No. 1. No details were given though of ranking based on percentage of population.

International Telecommunications Union (2010) Measuring the Information Society 2010 Geneva: ITU

Another way of measuring Internet use is that developed by the ITU, which uses 11 different indicators to rank countries on an ICT Development Index. Canada is ranked 21 in the world, just above Estonia and Belgium but below Ireland; USA is ranked 19, Sweden is 1, and China 79.

Two reasons why Canada does not rank higher is its low usage (and high cost) of mobile phone technology compared to most European countries and a relatively high proportion of people with low speed Internet access in rural areas. Recent opening up of the mobile wireless spectrum to new companies, and the Federal government’s $200 million investment in rural broadband connections, may change this ranking, but other countries are also investing heavily in such infrastructure.

One (of many) interesting quotes from this report:

In 2008, mobile cellular penetration and fixed broadband penetration in developing countries had reached the level that Sweden (ranking first in the IDI) had almost a decade earlier, and the number of Internet users per 100 inhabitants was the same as Sweden’s just over 11 years earlier. In contrast, life expectancy in developing countries is lagging Sweden by 66 years, and the infant mortality in developing countries in 2007 was at the same level where Sweden stood 72 years earlier.


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