Canada leads G-8 in adoption of broadband Internet access services

Virtually 100 per cent of Canadians now have access to broadband Internet

TORONTO, Oct. 7 /CNW/ - Virtually every Canadian who wants broadband Internet access can get it, and most can choose to get it from a broad array of service providers and technologies.

A new report by Mark H. Goldberg & Associates Inc. and Giganomics Consulting Inc. entitled "Lagging or Leading: The state of Canada's broadband infrastructure" takes a critical look at the state of Internet infrastructure in Canada, clearly demonstrating that on balance Canadians are the beneficiaries of industry investment and government programs that have created a diversified broadband infrastructure covering virtually the entire nation.

"Access to the Internet is crucial in today's global economy, so we thought it important to look at all the facts and information to paint a true picture of the Internet in Canada," says Mr. Goldberg. "Despite the significant challenges of geography and low population density, Canada has among the best access to affordable broadband service anywhere in the world. Contrary to the conclusions of the OECD, Canada compares favorably and in many cases surpasses countries whose governments have funded the deployment of broadband networks using enormous levels of tax dollars."

In large part due to investment by private Internet service providers (ISPs), the authors found that 100 per cent of Canadians have access to broadband Internet, when you look at all available technologies rather than a narrow range or even a single option. Canada's ISPs are currently investing $8 - $10 billion every year on expanding their networks and bringing faster access to Canadians.

"The vast majority of Canadians benefit from a world-leading level of choice in access to broadband technologies, using phone lines, cable lines, wireless services (fixed and mobile) and satellite services," says Mr. Goldberg. "Moreover, Canadians have access to some of the most affordable services, while also benefiting from some of the world's fastest connection speeds for both wireline and wireless broadband services."

The report shows that Canada continues to rank first in the G-8 countries in adoption of Internet access services, and consistently ranks in the top 10 of most international comparisons on broadband penetration and speeds. This contradicts a recent student project from Oxford's Said Business School that suffers from weak methodology, leading to unreliable results.

With almost 70 per cent of Canadian households already subscribing to broadband Internet, there still remains a significant opportunity to expand broadband adoption even further.

"When you look at all the facts, it is clear Canada is a leader in broadband network deployment and that Canadians benefit from a competitive Internet industry bringing them the latest technologies and affordable pricing," said Ms. Blackwell, Giganomics Consulting. "That said, we uncovered several opportunities that deserve attention and will help us hold our enviable global position in the Internet industry. Our country's economy will only come to rely even more on broadband in the coming years, so it is critical we get this right." The report makes several recommendations:

    
    -   As we go through the process of developing a national information and
        communication technologies (ICT) strategy, recognize the true state
        of Canada's ICT infrastructure and take into account all established
        and emerging technologies.
    -   Continue policies focused on fostering facilities-based competition.
    -   Build on the past success of private sector investment by removing
        current policy and regulatory uncertainty regarding investments in
        next-generation networks.
    -   Shift more attention to adoption issues (including adoption of next-
        generation services) and encourage socio-economic research focused on
        better understanding the obstacles to, and inhibitors of, broadband
        adoption.
    -   Consider programmes to improve digital literacy and the use of
        incentives (tax-based or otherwise) to target and overcome any
        barriers to broadband adoption.
    

The Mark H. Goldberg & Associates Inc. and Giganomics Consulting Inc. report, commissioned by a group of Canada's largest ISPs, seeks to understand the true state of broadband adoption in Canada and to provide the facts and analysis required to facilitate constructive debate that will help keep Canadians at the forefront of the Internet age.

To read the full report please visit www.mhgoldberg.com/blog or www.giganomics.ca

SOURCE MARK H. GOLDBERG & ASSOCIATES INC.

For further information: For further information: Mark Goldberg, Mark H. Goldberg and Associates, Inc., (905) 882-0417, mark@mhgoldberg.com; Suzanne Blackwell, Giganomics Consulting, Inc., (613) 228-7456, blackwell@giganomics.ca

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MARK H. GOLDBERG & ASSOCIATES INC.

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GIGANOMICS CONSULTING, INC.

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