Since Scott was concerned about the Internet usage data, I thought I would repeat it again. I have shown a variation of this chart before. Don’t rub your eyes, you are reading this chart right. It’s Statistics Canada data. New Brunswick was fourth in Canada among the provinces for Household Internet usage in 1997 (the year Frank left, coincidentally) and now we are dead last. In 1997, we were less than one percentage point behind the national average and now we are nine percentage points behind. We were five percentage points behind BC in 1997 and now we are a whopping 17.3 percentage points behind.
Why is this important? The answer should be obvious. If you recall the mid 1990s, the Internet was going to ‘save’ places like New Brunswick. People could work ‘anywhere’. Rural communities were going to flourish. Telework would abound. Eureka, they said.
Further, New Brunswick in the mid 1990s was called the ‘Living Lab’ for telecommunications innovation. It was the first province to have a Minister in charge of the Information Highway.
Now, look how far we have come.
And don’t think you will hear or read about this in the media. I have never seen these figures on the pages of a New Brunswick newspaper. Apparently, this little stat doesn’t interest the folks in charge.
But, you will read this stuff here as I do consider it important.
And for those of you that are trivia buffs, I’ll ask you a quick history question. What was the goal of the eNB initiative launched with great fanfare by Premier Lord almost six years ago?