Better data leads to better decisions

Earlier this week, Statistics Canada launched a new portal for data about Canada’s telecommunications sector, with a wealth of insights that should contribute to a far better understanding of the state of the industry by regulators and policy makers.

The portal currently highlights a few interesting datapoints, such as:

  • Consumer prices for cellular services decreased by just under 15% in December 2020 compared to December 2019
  • Capital investment by the wired and wireless telecom sector was just under $10B in 2018
  • In 2018, over half of Canadians used their smartphones for e-banking, 44% for online shopping, and a third for streaming
  • In 2019, 105,000 people worked in telecommunications, earning an average of about $66,000 for a total payroll of just under $7B

It is great to see Canada’s official government statistical agency invest additional resources into helping us improve our understanding of the underpinnings of the digital economy. Frequent readers will recognize that I have frequently written about the need for more data (such as here, here, here, here, and here).

In the past, I have asked “How is Canada supposed to be engaged in evidence-based policy making when there is so little information being gathered about who is online, how Canadians are using the internet and perhaps most importantly, who isn’t online yet and why not?”

What else would you want to see?

Better data leads to better quality decision making by regulators and policy makers. Statistics Canada new telecommunications portal is a welcome contribution to inform a fact-based discussion of issues.

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