Canadians love the Internet. Numerous studies have concluded that Canadians value their home Internet connection more than any other medium. Last month, an online survey conducted by the Canadian Media Research Consortium (CMRC) and Vision Critical, showed that 42% of respondents say they would be “least willing to give up” their home internet connection.
As per the results of its 2010 Canadian Internet Use Survey, Statistics Canada reports that almost 8 out of 10 households nationwide are connected to the Internet. The report indicates the Internet gap between urban (81%) and rural areas (71%) is gradually declining. The report reveals almost all high-income homes are online but only half of the low-income homes have access to Internet, which brings me to the all important question – Is the Internet a luxury or a necessity in Canada?
The report indicates British Columbia (84%), Alberta (83%) and Ontario (81%) have the highest Internet penetration. On the other hand, Manitoba, Quebec and Prince Edward Island (73%), and New Brunswick (70%) still lag behind other regions in Internet penetration. Nearly 93% of larger households (3 or more people) have Internet access as compared to the 58% penetration in single-person homes.
Though desktop computers (71%) and laptops (64%) still remain the most popular devices for accessing the Internet, the use of smartphones (35%) and gaming consoles (20%) is on the rise. Nearly 54% households use more than one device to get online. The vast majority (97%) of households in the top income groups — those with incomes of $87,000 or more — had home Internet access, compared with just 54% of households in the lowest income group, of $30,000 or less. Despite a recent boom in new wireless entrants, Canada still holds the dubious distinction of being the world’s most expensive place to own a cellphone.
Therefore, it’s unsurprising that Canadians are still unhappy with the cost and quality of mobile service they receive and mobile web penetration hasn’t skyrocketed like in other developed countries.
Interestingly, out of the 21% Canadians who do not have Internet access at home, more than half say they have no need or interest in it anyway. A small percentage said they lacked the confidence, knowledge or skills to use the Internet.
Coming back to the original question, Is the Internet a luxury or a necessity in Canada? StatsCan’s data makes me believe the Internet is a norm rather than an exception in Canadian households. Your thoughts are welcome.