Project Partners: NOHFC & FedNor

Oraclepoll Research conducted the survey, interviewing 500 residents and 300 businesses from across Northern Ontario. The findings from the survey were then used to write the report, High-speed Internet Connectivity and Utilization in Northern Ontario: A User Guide 2009. NEOnet is encouraged by the findings of the survey but recognizes that there is still more that can be achieved. The 2009 Connectivity Survey results have been discussed at length by the NEOnet staff and board and have helped to shape the organizations deliverables.

Highlights from the Report

Since the last Connectivity Survey in 2005 Northern Ontario has experienced significant growth in residential and business high-speed penetration rates. This is in part thanks to FedNor and NOHFC along with private sector partners who have maintained a strong commitment to expanding the availability of broadband infrastructure throughout the region. This investment in Northern Ontario has encouraged penetration rates that surpass national averages.

Further investment in Northern Ontario infrastructure should focus on extending the broadband footprint, along with creating and promoting education and awareness programs aimed at “adopting high-speed applications” in order to encourage a culture of innovation and comfort with technology. Residents and businesses that are not currently subscribing to high- speed service stated that they are not aware of any compelling reason for using broadband or they perceive the cost of connectivity to be too high.

It is apparent that more needs to be done to educate the public on the merits of technology. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) calls this development the ‘use divide’. Computer training programs developed and delivered at public Internet access sites (libraries and schools), or through informal workshops would help emphasize the benefits of technology to everyone.

There are still pockets across the region that remains unserved or underserved. Infrastructure development in the region is hampered by the substantial costs associated with the large distances to cover and the topography of the area. Improving the existing broadband infrastructure to allow for the increase bandwidth demand may also help to increase the penetration rate in the region. In more urban areas 100 Mbps is widely available.

Download the 2009 Connectivity Survey.