Wireless penetration puzzle

Either Canadians responding to a recent survey don’t know what WiFi is, or pollster Decima Research has its data wrong. That is the conclusion I come to after reading David Akin’s precis of a Decima report about wireless “hot spots” in Canada. According to David, the Decima report says that “…one in 10 Canadians — not one in 10 Canadian Internet users, but one in 10 Canadians — have already accessed a wi-fi hotspot”.

As they say in the Valley, horse-hockey. Straight up, less than 10% Canadians have wireless-ready laptops, so the stat is demonstrably implausible. Unless Canadians like to borrow 802.11-enabled laptops from one another just for the frisson of having tried out a WiFi hotspot, something is seriously hosed here. Maybe Canadians misunderstood the question and are including all the times they felt radio waves bouncing off their parka at coffee shops.


  1. But it feels so good when you’re parka warms up with those radio waves!
    For the record, though, here’s the line in the Decima report in context (my emphasis added):
    “…The $25 flat monthly fee scenario is especially popular
    among Albertans (61%) and among students (57%).
    Survey findings reveal that 10% of Canadians already access public hotspots. The highest penetration is in Ontario and B.C., at 12% respectively, while the lowest is in Manitoba/
    Saskatchewan at 6%….

  2. Baffling. You see where I’m coming from though David? Overall laptops in use in the U.S. in 2002 was around 43mm, and less than 5mm of those laptops were WiFi enabled. Using the usual “divide by ten” rule, that means Canada has around 4.3 mm laptops in regular use, and there’s no way more than 25% of those are WiFi enabled. Last time I checked Canada had 32mm people, so that means wireless penetration of the overall Canadian population is around 3%. If you say, charitably, that all of those people have used hotspots, then the Decima number seems off by at least a factor of 3.
    What am I missing?