In 2010, 8 out of 10 Canadian households (79%) had access to the Internet. Over one-half of connected households used more than one type of device to go online.
About 81% of households located in census metropolitan areas and 76% of households located in census agglomerations had home Internet access, compared with 71% of households outside of these areas.
Rates of access were highest in British Columbia (84%) and Alberta (83%), followed by Ontario, where the rate was 81%.
The Canadian Internet Use Survey was redesigned for 2010 and its findings should not be compared with those from previous surveys.
The income divide
To investigate the divide (or gap) in the rate of home Internet access on the basis of income, households were divided into four income groups called quartiles.
The vast majority (97%) of households in the top income quartile, those with incomes of $87,000 or more, had home Internet access. This compares with a rate of 54% of households in the lowest quartile, those with incomes of $30,000 or less.
The "Home Internet access" rate is the proportion of households with access to the Internet from home.
The survey asked about the type of "devices" used to access the Internet, including a desktop or laptop computer; a video games console; a BlackBerry, iPhone or other wireless handheld device; and other devices.
The "Home high-speed access" rate is the proportion of households with a self-reported high-speed connection to access the Internet from home.
A census metropolitan area (CMA) and a census agglomeration (CA) consist of one or more neighbouring municipalities situated around a major urban core. A CMA must have a total population of at least 100,000, of which 50,000 or more live in the urban core. A CA must have an urban core population of at least 10,000.
The rate of home Internet access also varies by household size and composition. In 2010, 93% of households with three or more people, as well as those with at least one member under the age of 18, had home Internet access. By contrast, 58% of one-person households had home Internet access.
Access using multiple devices
Among connected households, most used a desktop computer (71%) or a laptop computer (64%).
Over one-third (35%) used a wireless handheld device to access the Internet from home.
A majority (54%) of connected households used more than one type of device to go online in 2010.
Based on the type of Internet connection and its self-reported speed, about 96% of households with home Internet access reported a high-speed connection. This means that, among all Canadian households, about three-quarters reported home high-speed Internet access in 2010.
Households without the Internet
Among the one-fifth (21%) of households without home Internet access in 2010, over one-half (56%) reported they had no need for or interest in it.
Other reasons for having no access included the cost of service or equipment (20%), or the lack of a device such as a computer (15%). About 12% of households reported they lacked confidence, knowledge or skills.
Relatively more households in the lowest income quartile reported the cost of service or equipment (24%) as a reason.