If you build it, they might come? (musing on broadband investments)
My TJ column tomorrow discusses the fact that New Brunswick has pervasive broadband Internet ‘access’ (i.e. availability) but the lowest percentage of households ‘accessing’ it. If you strip out the urban areas of Moncton, Fredericton and Saint John, the percentage of homes with Internet access is likely below 60 percent.
I make the case that smarter public policy would be focused on the real barriers to Internet access – literacy, income levels, relevancy-in-daily-life, etc.
For example, New Brunswick has far fewer people working from home even though this would seem like a logical way to address high unemployment – particularly in rural areas. I realize there are broad set of issues at play here but one thing is clear - availability hasn’t improved access.
PS – Just so we are clear – when I say percentage of households with Internet access – I mean they have Internet in the home (not the availability of Internet if they decide to choose it).