A longtime rural resident, I use my 60 plus years of life learning to opinionate here and elsewhere on the “interweb” on everything from politics to environmental issues. A believer in reasonable discourse rather than unhelpful attacks I try to give positive input to the blogesphere, so feel free to comment upon rural issues or anything else posted here. But don’t be surprised if you comments get zapped if you are not polite in your replys.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Rural Internet Survey

A couple of weeks ago we posted an online survey designed to find out what type of internet connection the majority of rural folks had and how many of them used or were interested in online forums. This to promote the formation of a forum dedicated to rural communities across Ontario and / or Canada.

The readership of this blog is not exactly overwhelming, it only sees about 600 'page reads' a month and the response to the survey has been considerably less than that. Thus far 100% of the respondents have been urban residents so if you are a rural citizen and are reading this please fill out the very brief survey linked at the end of this post and in the side bar.

The results thus far indicate that those 'urban' folks who did respond nearly all have high speed unlimited internet, use online forums and email 'lists of digests' and are open to using a Rural Forum if it is formatted to their liking. They get their community information mostly from face to face meetings and the internet and less so from newspaper and radio, this is a surprise to me but I suspect that those who view my blog and filled out the survey are hardly 'typical'. As I have said before such surveys, indeed any survey, is biased by both the distribution of it and by those who are inclined to answer such things. This then is a long way form a 'scientific' poll but just a effort to gain a little more insight as to how my readers get their information and whether their internet connection affects their use of online forums and the like.

Please take a look at the survey and consider filling it out particularly if you live in rural Canada, it consists of just 6 questions and may be found here:- http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/GZZYVPK

The initial results can be viewed here ,this post will be updated and the survey discontinued on or before Nov 30 2012


Paul Doyle said...

There is a tremendous digital divide between rural and urban Canadians.

I live barely 20 minutes drive from Canada's largest metropolitain area and yet I live in the digital 3rd world. My only option for 'High Speed Internet' is to pay $65 per month (plus taxes) for a satellite Internet connection that promises speeds '(up to*) 25 times faster than dial-up' yet consistently delivers speeds comperable to, if not worse than, dial-up.

And heaven forbid I exceed my allotted bandwidth ration of 55MB per hour... I'm cut down to speeds that make me give up in frustration! 55MB per hour - Seriously! I can hit that downloading emails with moderately-sized attachments. Downloading a Widows system update or the latest version of iTunes kills me every time.

Skype? Forget about it. VOIP? You must be kidding. Downloading clips from uTube? Can't waste my time waiting in frustration... Uploading pictures to share on Facebook? Uploading is 1/5th the speed of downloading. Netflix? In your dreams! Cloud? What's that, other than an atmospheric condition that makes my Internet even slower (when it works at all?)

I'd be curious to learn how many other rural types, like me, regularly drive into town to filch the free WiFi at McDonalds, or wait until they're at the office, if they need to download a system or application update, or send an important email with a large attachment?

Out here on the fringes, the digital revolution has passed us by, friends...

Rural said...

I share your frustration Paul, after 'stepping up' from dial up to a startling 200kbs (on a good day)I an still very limited in volume unless I want to pay big 'penalties'. As you say movies, streaming video and the like is a non starter. The response to the survey is quite small but drop back in about 3 weeks for the full results.

Anonymous said...

I feel the rural internet pain!
After years of paying for dial up with extra for an 'accelerator' I just couldn't take it any more. It would just randomly hang up, the speed was usually closer to 12k than 56k, it tied up the phone line, and heaven forbid someone send me an email with a picture attached. Norton update - what for? Who was going to have the patience to try and hack my system? Windows updates - you have to be kidding!
So after waiting for Bell DSL for 2 years (they made it to a town 15km away) they told me not to hold my breath.
So on to a satellite internet connection (the only one on offer here) I went!
It has all the drawbacks mentioned above but for the extra 15bucks a month at least I can go to the sites I want now and I don't live in fear of one emailed pic of a new dog tying up my system for 45 minutes.
But would have been nice to a. have some choice and b. have better service.

Rural said...

The initial results of the survey can be found at http://ruralcanadian.blogspot.ca/2012/10/rural-internet-survey-results.html