Individuals from eight (8) countries completed the survey including those from Russia, Canada, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Poland, and the USA. Seventy-nine percent (79%) of the respondents were UArctic members.
There is no doubt from the survey results that good Internet or broadband access is very important to individuals and the communities in which they live. The majority of respondents indicated that they have internet in their home with only 2% reporting that they do not. The type of home connection varied from phone line to satellite and from government provider to local business provider.
Participants were asked to complete a speed test on their Internet connections. Access speed and quality of Internet varied greatly with near Gigabit speeds in some areas of Scandinavia and speeds of one-Megabit per second or less in rural areas of Russia and Canada.
Personal use and importance of Internet showed interesting trends with email, Internet browsing, employment and social media use being ranked very important. Shopping and music and video access were also important personal uses.
When individuals were asked to rate the Internet use they saw as important to their communities, Scientific Research, Safety and Search and Rescue were clearly very important throughout the Arctic. Air, land and marine navigation and environmental monitoring were also ranked very highly.
Comments received from participants clearly showed that people were thankful for the Internet access they do have, but expressed concerns about the quality of Internet and the ability to support small businesses in rural areas. One participant from Nunavut said, “One cannot run a business in Nunavut with the current Internet speeds. We cannot stay competitive, we cannot stay in touch.”
While the findings are preliminary and response numbers relatively low, they do represent a sampling from across the Arctic. The survey will remain open and participation is encouraged. The survey can be accessed here: http://goo.gl/forms/AEGEZV6oY8
Click here to view a powerpoint of the results submitted to the Arctic Council Task Force on Telecommunications Infrastructure in the Arctic.
UArctic Members and individuals in the communities they represent were asked to contribute feedback on Telecomm, Internet, Broadband needs of their organizations and communities for input to Arctic Council's Task Force on Telecommunications Infrastructure in the Arctic. UArctic is represented in TFTIA by Karl Kowalski, the lead of Thematic Network on Arctic Telecommunications and Networking.