According to the International Telecommunications Union’s recent report, Measuring the Information Society, Canada ranked 19th on the 2007 ICT Development Index, down from 9th in 2002. The ICT Development Index examines information and communication technologies (ICT) developments in more than 150 countries over a five-year period (2002 to 2007). It aggregates 11 indicators, including literacy and education; fixed and mobile telephone penetration; the proportion of households with a computer and Internet access; and the proportion of fixed and mobile Internet users, as well as international Internet bandwidth available to these users.

On the ICT access front, Canada’s proportion of households with computers and Internet access increased. Fixed telephone line penetration, however, declined from 65.9 per 100 inhabitants in 2002 to 55.5 per 100 inhabitants in 2007. While Canada’s mobile cellular penetration increased from 37.9 per cent in 2002 to 61.7 per cent in 2007, Canada slipped from 46th to 83rd spot in the rankings on this indicator, behind Kazakhstan, Armenia, Bosnia and Libya.

Between 2002 and 2007, Canada improved its ICT use (which measures Internet user penetration and fixed and mobile broadband penetration) from 2.67 to 4.01. Despite this increase, Canada actually dropped from fourth spot in 2002 to 21st place in 2007. It was overtaken by Northern and Western European countries, which experienced a huge uptake in fixed broadband over the five-year period. Canada’s decline is somewhat surprising considering it had the second-lowest relative price for fixed broadband.

Out of 154 countries surveyed, Canada trailed behind at least 50 other nations in the area of mobile broadband, with only 1.5 subscriptions per 100 inhabitants at the end of 2007. The report did note, however, that mobile broadband has only just started in Canada. New wireless licensees that participated in Industry Canada’s 2008 Advanced Wireless Services spectrum auction have announced plans for market entry during 2009 or 2010.