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The CRTC differentiates between high speed and broadband Internet connections. High speed connections are defined as those at or above speeds of 128 Kbps. Broadband connections are those at or above speeds of 1.5 Mbps. In 2008, 52% of Canadian households had a broadband connection, according to CRTC data. These subscriber statistics are based on residential data gathered from suppliers offering Internet services. The CIUS measures individuals and uses the term "high speed". On the 2005 and 2007 CIUS, individuals were classified as having high speed access if they had a cable or satellite connection at home, or another type of connection (telephone, television, wireless, or other) that they identified as being a high speed connection. For these reasons, the two sources should not be directly compared.
Given the exclusion of the 16 and 17 year old respondents from the 2007 data, results presented here differ from those previously released for the CIUS (e.g. Statistics Canada 2008a).
The high speed variable is derived from self-reported questions on type and speed of connection. Only those respondents who used the Internet from home and were connected at the time of the survey were asked about their connection.
See Middleton and Ellison (2008) for a detailed discussion of speed and intensity of usage among Canadian households using data from the 2001 to 2003 Household Internet Use Surveys.
For instance, in 2005 users were asked separate questions about online banking and paying bills online. In 2007, they were asked a single question about electronic banking.
Note that this mean reflects the 20 comparable items only, not the complete list of specific uses reported in each survey.
The increase in the proportion of high scope users from 2005 to 2007 was statistically significant, at a 99% level of confidence (p < 0.01).
While travel information was the third most popular activity among low intensity users, the proportion of low intensity users (61%) engaging in this activity in 2007 was still lower than that of high intensity users (76%). In fact, participation rates were higher among high intensity users for all activities measured.
One-half (50%) of users with five or more years of online experience were high intensity users in 2005, compared with 51% of such users in 2007. The proportion of experienced users who demonstrated high scope of usage increased marginally from 57% in 2005 to 61% in 2007. Only the latter change was statistically significant.
For an analysis of Internet use, including scope of use, by labour force characteristics, see McKeown, Veenhof and Corman (2008).
The only exception was labour force status. Although bivariate results indicated that scope of use was higher among persons in the labour force, this was the only variable in the model without a statistically significant association with scope of Internet use, once controlling for other factors.
In the model, location was not significantly associated with intensity of use, as measured by frequency and hours of Internet usage. It should be noted that being in a rural location had a modest, negative association with the number of activities Internet users performed, based on results from a separate model (see Table 3).
For example, 47% or urban home Internet users and 41% rural home users were high-intensity users in 2007. Based on the CIUS data, Internet users living in urban areas were younger and had significantly higher levels of household income than users living in rural areas.
It is noted that this result is based on a cross-sectional comparison of experienced users and less experienced users at one point in time. Panel data would be required to assess how intensity patterns change among individual users over time.
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