In addition to the homeless population who doesn’t have regular access to the internet for obvious reasons, 1/5 of Canadian households still don’t have internet access (Stats Can 2010)
The biggest factor separating those who have internet and those who don’t is household income. 54% of those who don’t have internet fall under the lowest income quarter, meaning the household income per year is less than $30,000 (Stats Can 2010)
The following reasons for not having internet access were given (Stats Can 2010):
- a surprising 56% of households expressed lack of need or interest in having the internet
- 20% of households said cost of service or equipment was a major factor
- 15% of households said they lack a computer or other device to use the internet
- 12% of households said they lack confidence, knowledge or skills needed to use the internet
Having community access programs available will eliminate the concerns associated with costs of service and equipment/device needed for the use of the internet because those costs are covered. Community access program provides workshops on how to use the internet and office software which would benefit those who lack the confidence or skill.
The lack of need/interest in having the internet in this income quarter maybe associated with how people associate what is qualifies as a necessity. During an online conversation, a TEDtalks member pointed to the Abraham Maslov’s hierarchy of needs, which ranks necessity on different levels. With limited finances, the internet may come after food, clothing, shelter, etc.