Canadian Internet Project releases optimistic findings

Academics from Ryerson University, York University and the Université de Montréal released the results of the Canadian Internet Project (CIP), a study based on responses of more than 3,000 Canadians polled over the past spring. The CIP said 62 per cent of Internet users claimed it helped them be more productive in their work, with those in higher income brackets and more frequent users feeling this more strongly than others. Less than a quarter of those surveyed said they felt the Internet gives them more political power, however, although more than half said they had accessed either a federal or provincial government Web site in the 12 months prior to the survey.
The study also indicated 19 per cent of users are already using voice over IP to make phone calls, a statistic that surprised Charles Zamaria, a professor at Ryerson University who is helping lead the CIP.
“You have to remember that this was conducted in May and June, before the real marketing of VoIP was happening,” he said. “The fact that 83 per cent were aware of it is extraordinary. ”
Survey respondents told CIP researchers they spend an average of 13.5 hours a week online, two-thirds of which is spent searching for data.
“A great preponderance saw the Internet as information-seeking as opposed to an entertainment-seeking medium,” Zamaria said. “We’re expecting that to change over time, but that’s where we are today.”
CIP tracks the opinions of non-users as well as those who regularly go online. Of current non-users, for example, about 34 per cent said they had previously gone on the Internet. 
“Only a small proportion said cost was a deterrent,” said Fred Fletcher, a professor at York University. “The most important category they fit into was lack of interest — there were no services that this group wanted. ”

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