Surprise: Small, rich countries rank high in broadband

 Holy apples-to-oranges comparison, Batman.


A Harvard University think tank this week released a study comparing broadband Internet coverage and pricing among 30 countries, including Canada.


When ranked by price, Canada was 25th, according to Next Generation Connectivity: A review of broadband Internet transitions and policy from around the world, published by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard.


The top countries overall were Japan, South Korea, Sweden and Denmark.


Given that Canada is the second largest country in the world — with much greater distances for networks to cover – it might be  relevant to compare the respective sizes of the countries surveyed.


According to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency's World Fact Book, Canada (with 9.98 million square kilometres) is 100 times larger than South Korea, which has an area of 99,700 square km. Both countries have gross domestic products of about US$1.3 trillion and South Korea has 60 per cent more people than Canada.

Japan, with four times the population of Canada, is the 68th largest country in the world. Canada is 25 times larger than Japan, which has an area of 378,000 square kilometres, but only Japan's economy, with a GDP of US$4.3 trillion, is 3.3 times larger. Japan’s 127 million people live in an area about 60 per cent the size of Saskatchewan.



When comparing Canada to Denmark, the differences are even more pronounced. With 5.5 million people, Denmark would fit into an area in southern Ontario bound by Kitchener to the west, Belleville to the east and Parry Sound to the north. Or for those from the west, if you superimposed Denmark in the southeastern corner of Alberta, it would not reach as far north as Red Deer and would cover about the width of the southern end of the province from east to west.


Sweden is more than ten times the area of Denmark, but this still makes it four per cent the size of Canada.


So do you really need to go to Harvard to figure out that Denmark, Japan, Sweden and South Korea have some sort of advantage over Canada in providing broadband service?


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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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