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With their prices soaring and a flood of cheap new technology, the internet has become the latest technology trend to become a hot commodity in Canada.
That’s a trend that’s only getting hotter, according to a recent study by the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CATU).
In fact, the study found that in Canada, Internet equipment has overtaken furniture and appliances in terms of sales in the past two years.
It’s the latest trend to see the number of Canadians with a high-speed connection increase, with the CATU finding that internet equipment sales increased from 4.2 per cent of the total in 2013 to 9.1 per cent in 2015.
“We have a growing number of people who are getting internet access, who have an online presence, and who are accessing it for business purposes,” says Robyn Miller, CATU president and CEO.
“That’s an important trend, but also, we’re seeing a lot of other things that are increasing the demand for Internet.”
Miller says the trend toward internet equipment is part of a larger trend that has seen a growing demand for other forms of Internet-based services in Canada over the past decade.
That includes the growing use of mobile technology, as well as the rise of digital-only retail.
The new generation of Internet users, who are not just using their smartphones to access the web, but they’re also looking to use their own devices for that purpose, as they’ve grown accustomed to having the internet at home.
And that trend, Miller says, has seen the demand to purchase new and used hardware skyrocket.
“It’s a growing trend, and we have to be cognizant of it,” she says.
“As we grow our businesses and our cities, we need to look at where our existing infrastructure is and look at the way we can improve the service that we provide.”
According to Miller, one of the main reasons for the growth in demand for new Internet equipment is because of the way the internet is being used.
“Our business is increasingly being served online, whether through mobile devices, the Internet of Things, or on-demand streaming,” she explains.
“The more that we have these technologies in place, the more we’re being able to use them for business, and the more that our businesses are being served.”
The Canadian Association for University Teachers also has an overview of some of the issues facing the internet industry, and it’s a topic that’s been a concern for some time.
“I think we’re just now beginning to realize how important the internet infrastructure is,” Miller says.
The CATU study found the internet needs to be updated in many ways, including increasing the capacity of the internet network and improving the speed of service.
In fact a number of these improvements have been underway for a number in the last few years, but now, with many of the changes being made to the internet, Miller hopes they’ll become even more widespread in the future.
The study also found that Canadians need to be aware of how much time they spend online.
“A lot of our young people, we can’t help but feel like they’re spending too much time online,” Miller explains.
“[Our parents] are more than happy to help them with homework, or they’re able to take them out for coffee, or whatever.
But when they’re at work, they’re not.
So, the net result is that they’re having less time online.”
Miller recommends that Canadians work with their own ISP to make sure that the speed and reliability of their internet connection is the best it can be.
“If you have a service that you know is going to work and if it’s reliable and it has a strong connection to the network, you’re going to be able to be online for a lot longer,” she advises.
But if you’re unsure about the level of service you’re getting, Miller also says that it’s important to look out for any problems with the network.
“One of the most common things that people have that they don’t necessarily want to know about is that there are problems with their connection, so you can be able see the problems in a clear, consistent way,” she notes.
“And then you can take action to fix those problems.”
The report also found a number problems with Canadian broadband providers.
In the past, the CATV has urged Canadian ISPs to upgrade their networks, which in turn would improve speeds for customers.
But now, Miller notes that there’s also a need to update the infrastructure for Canadians, so that it can continue to provide a quality experience.
“You have to keep in mind that it is still very early in the broadband and telecommunications business,” she adds.
“So, as these technologies are being used, you have to update those services.
You have to have the infrastructure to make it happen.”