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.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Rural Internet Survey Results

Survey Results.

A couple of months ago in order to try and get an idea of what reaction folks would have to a forum dedicated to Rural Affairs and how many rural folk were restricted in their internet access and thus we perhaps less inclined to use such communication methods I posted a survey on these pages. Having been very disappointed with the lack of data emerging from a more comprehensive survey by the Woman’s Institute of Ontario in their Rural Voices project I promised to share any results with my readers for all to see.

Here then are the results to date, please note that the response was understandably very small given my readership and that any online survey asking about internet use is automatically biased by both the method of data collection and by those inclined to answer such surveys. That said here are the results.


Rural Respondents 57.10%

Urban Respondents 42.90%

Type of internet connection. (Choice)


Cable or wireless 200k - 1m bps 35.70%

Hub or Stick 50k - 200k bps 28.60%

Greater than 1 m bps 28.60%

Dialup less than 50k bps 7.10%

No connection at home 0.00%

Internet connection limits (choice)


Unlimited 35.70%

10 Mb or less without extra charge 28.60%

3 Mb or less without extra charge 21.40%

Over 10 Mb without extra charge but not unlimited 14.30%

Most used online discussion methods (multiple choice)


Online forum or discussion sites 57.10%

Email 'lists' and digests 50.00%

Online bulletin boards 35.70%

Online audio conferencing 21.40%

Online video chat or conferencing 14.30%

Online chat sites 7.10%

None of the above 42.90%

Use by respondents of a Forum dedicated to Rural matters. (Choice)


Perhaps, depending upon how it was used / presented 64.30%

Yes 21.40%

Yes, if it were local content 7.10%

Not probable 7.10%

No, I hate online forums. 0.00%

How respondents get information about their LOCAL community (Ranked)

Rank (only top 3 choices shown) 1 2 3
Directly from others in the community (face to face) 46.20% 23.10% 0.00%
Via the Internet 30.80% 7.70% 38.50%
By email 7.70% 30.80% 7.70%
From the local newspaper 7.70% 15.40% 7.70%
From radio or TV 7.70% 7.70% 23.10%
By phone from others in the community 0.00% 15.40% 23.10%

Some notes and comments upon the results:-

Examination of the individual responses indicate that the majority of those with high speed unlimited connections are urban residents whilst most of those with less than optimal connections are rural citizens, this is as expected and reflects the patchy availability such services in rural areas.
100% of those who did use some kind of online discussion method (excluding 'social media') visited Forums of some kind but more than 1 in 4 did not use any such methods of exchanging information. Given that this was an online survey this is a little surprising, perhaps they are enamored with facebook & twitter which I do not regard as a place for serious discussion and information sharing.
Even given the above nearly all the respondents said they WOULD use a forum dedicated to rural matters although most said it would depend upon how it was presented.
Almost half said that most of their local information was obtained by face to face communications however the internet came in a strong second, email, radio, TV & newspapers all showed up as generally the 3rd, 4th or 5th choices.

All in all an interesting glimpse of something which we need a lot more information about, StatsCan does have figures on internet use but as far as I can tell no information as to the type of connection by rural / urban split. Unfortunately due to the very small sampling of this survey such information remains elusive, any pointers to more information in this regard would be greatly appreciated..

The link to the survey will remain valid for a while, feel free to add your data to it. If the results change substantially with more respondents I will update the results.

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