NBDC commissioned a socio-economic impact assessment to gather baseline data and develop economic projections in order to demonstrate the direct and indirect impacts of broadband connectivity. Research in other countries has demonstrated that investment in ICT, as a general purpose technology, contributes to productivity gains in almost every sector of the economy. While broadband's contribution to the territory’s social and economic development is unquestionable, there has been little concrete research to document and quantify the social and economic impact of the broadband infrastructure investment for Nunavut. Through a combination of surveys, interviews, literature review, and economic modeling, the study estimated the direct and indirect benefits of Nunavut’s broadband infrastructure.The resulting report is a useful tool to demonstrate the impact of past investments and to guide future investments in ICT infrastructure in Nunavut.
The study found that, overall, the impact of Internet access in Nunavut has generated the following direct and spin-off economic impacts, on an annual basis:
- $15.2 million in GDP at market prices,
- $9.9 million in direct and spin-off wages and salaries (household income),
- 198 person years of direct and spin-off employment,
- $1 million in direct and spin-off federal tax revenues, and
- $530,000 in direct and spin-off other tax revenues.
Even with these important economic impacts, there is unmet demand for connectivity. Stakeholder interviews and measurement of uptake across Nunavut compared to other jurisdictions indicate that organizations and individuals are waiting for a higher capacity service in order to be able to effectively implement and use the appropriate e-solutions that will support and accelerate local socio-economic development.
If Nunavut were able to leverage broadband with the same degree of success as rural communities in the south are able to, the current level of impact from Internet access could balloon between 2 and 3.2 times their current levels, to between $30 and $50 million in GDP (at market prices), between $20 and $30 million in direct and spin-off wages and salaries (household income), between 390 and 630 jobs, and between $3 and 5 million in direct and spin-off tax revenues.
The potential take-up rate for broadband services and applications is high in Nunavut’s communities, but the initial investment costs must first be overcome – a role for which government is looked upon for assistance.
Read the full report.
The study was funded by CanNor and preformed by Strategic Networks Group, who were selected through a public RFP.