Many of us can't remember what life before the Internet was like. While the soft whirring of dial-up access is just now fading from our minds, the time before that is pretty blurry. How did students complete their school work, businesspeople keep up with market developments, people buy music or watch whatever movie they wanted to or keep up with their friends, family members and acquaintances?
While life is definitely not impossible without the Internet, many Canadians realize it would be a lot less entertaining. However, there are a number of northerners who have avoided the technology in their lives, opting for a quieter, slower lifestyle. This probably seems quite foreign to the rest of us, especially because Canada has been named among the world's more fervent Internet adopters for a number of years.
Relying on slow connectivity is bad enough, but no Internet at all? Preposterous.
So what do these Internet recluses miss out on without having Internet access?
Unconnected Canadians lose out
Though they may not realize it - Canadians without Internet are not only in the shrinking minority, but they're also losing out on a lot of great benefits that could make their lives easier.
For one, they may not have access to great jobs. The Huffington Post pointed out that because we live in such a connected world, 80 per cent of Fortune 500 companies only advertise for new openings online - something those without the net would never be exposed to. Plus, these people probably find it hard to send their resumes to companies they're applying to and to maintain subsequent communication.
While The Huffington Post pointed out that it tends to be those in the lower income brackets who skip Internet access, the Globe and Mail noted that even half of all Canadians in the bottom 20 per cent in terms of salary had access to the web as of 2009, a figure that's expected to have risen since. So, interestingly, this might be a case of preference, not finances.
The rest of us have it pretty good
Elsewhere, in the majority of homes across Canada, people not only have Internet access, but they have faster connections than ever.
"Virtually all Canadian households had access to broadband Internet services of at least 1.5 megabits per second, delivered by landline, mobile and satellite facilities," a report published by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission read.
More than just high speeds and near constant connectivity, we've got a lot of options when deciding how we want to tap into and pay for the Internet. Internet services providers (ISPs) range from massive corporations to indie startups employing a handful of people. What this means is that consumers can create an Internet service based on their needs. Maybe they'd like to go with a big ISP that will likely leave them alone to go about their business and allow them to pay a flat rate for however many years their contract is for. On the other hand, choosing an indie company would allow for a more personalized experience on a month-by-month basis, as clients see fit.