Online and on Point: Broadband Usage in Canada and the United States
35 Pages Posted: 31 Mar 2012 Last revised: 3 Sep 2012
Date Written: August 31, 2012
Despite the pervasiveness of the Internet, more than one in five Canadian and American households did not go online by 2010. Furthermore, demographic and geographic disparities in Internet use, known as the “digital divide,” led to lower adoption rates among rural, low-income, less-educated, and older individuals from both countries. While the magnitude of these disparities has recently decreased, policymakers seek to eliminate such gaps in an economically sustainable and politically acceptable fashion.
This paper examines the patterns of broadband Internet adoption and usage in Canada and the United States. Data used in this report were collected through the Statistics Canada Canadian Internet Use Survey (CIUS) and the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS) Computer and Internet Use Supplement, as well as the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunication Commission’s (CRTC) annual Communications Monitoring Report, the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) periodic collections of broadband data, and U.S. National Broadband Map. We examine the characteristics of those Canadians and Americans who are not online, assessing in particular their stated reasons for not using the Internet, and discuss the implications of their reasons. Contemplated policy responses will necessarily differ based on these varying underlying reasons. For example, the inability to access the Internet based on the unavailability or high cost of broadband requires a different policy response than that required to address the reluctance to use it due to lack of perceived utility, lack of digital skills, or fear of technology [Neogi and Brocca, 2011].
Keywords: Broadband, Internet, Adoption and Use
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