Canada is a highly wired society. An early adopter of the Internet and broadband technology, Canada has one of the highest Internet penetration rates in the world. With nearly 8 in 10 Canadians online, the vast majority of those daily users, Canada is within the top quartile of countries globally.

Not only are a greater percentage of Canadians online than the citizens of most other countries, but they spend more time there, as well. A recent ComScore study puts Canadians in the number 1 spot, at 45 hours per month, almost double the global average. And with their number of online hours increasing every year, Canadians are spending more and more time on social networking and entertainment sites, like YouTube and Facebook, which now account for the most popular content online.

Accessing video online is particularly intensive in Canada, thanks to the country's investment in video-enabling broadband technology. According to ComScore, Canadians watched more videos online than anyone in 2011, averaging 300 views per month. Notably, every second one of those videos was watched on YouTube, where views increased by a staggering 170 per cent in 2011, indicative of the overall rise in viewing intensity by Canadians online.

While the majority of online Canadians access the Internet from home, the trend toward mobile continues to strengthen. Among mobile users, nearly half were using smartphones by the end of 2011, an increase of almost 50 per cent from the year before.

The workings of the Internet are unknown to most users, but industry data offers a fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpse at just how pervasive the Internet is, where Canada stands in the digital economy, and how the proliferation of online devices is fueling the evolution of a new online system.

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Canadians spend more time online than anybody else in the world – an average of 45 hours/month

The Domain Name System

To get an idea of the sheer volume of activity on the Internet, the average number of queries for .CA alone in 2011 was about 245 million a day. That's 245 million daily actions through .CA addresses and emails, which makes up just a fraction of activity on the Internet.

While .CA registrations and Canadian use of the Internet are ever-increasing, improved efficiencies and policing of .CA for spamUnsolicited email often sent to multiple mailing lists. have kept the number of queries fairly stable throughout the year. Nonetheless, hundreds of millions of daily queries is testament to the thriving online community among Canadians.

Security continues to be a priority for .CA. With instances of malicious activity online increasing, it

is imperative that organizations like CIRA endeavor to be a step ahead of criminal activity online. Canada is not immune to online crime; a report by Websense in 2012 found that Canada has experienced a 39 per cent increase in botnets, and a 239 per cent increase in malicious websites since 2011.

For this reason, CIRA has made significant investments in the security of .CA, and will be fully implementing DNSSEC, an important set of security extensions that will enhance the security of a key part of Canada's Internet. CIRA has been successful in its endeavors to ensure the safety and security of .CA. The .CA top-level domain is considered by McAfee to be one of the safest in the world.

According to McAfee .CA ranks #64 out of 104 as least risky domain to visit.

Broadband speed and cost

BroadbandRefers to the high speed transmission of multiple channels of data through one singular cable. A broadband modem generally has ‘always-on’ access and is faster than dial-up Internet access. speed and price are a nation's digital currency, and while Canada ranks within the top 20 countries, according to 2011 OECD data, there's room for improvement when you consider that Canadians spend more time online than anyone else.

The good news is that Canada's performance has improved over the last year, up from a rank of 23 to

19, as prices have dropped by 20 per cent to $3.29 per megabyte and speed has more than doubled from 21 mbps to 45 mbps.

The not so good news is that many countries have outpaced Canada on gains, and best it on price, while countries in Asia, like South Korea and Japan, trounce it on speed as well.

54% .ca vs 10% .com - personal website domain preference | 49% .ca vs 17% .com - business website domain preference

Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6)

Every device that connects to the Internet requires an IP address, a unique set of identifying numbers that allows it to send and receive data using the Internet Protocol (IP)A unique number that identifies a computer and its location on the Internet. These numbers correspond to domain names. For example, the IP address 192.228.29.1 is associated with the domain name cira.ca. system.

But our current IP system, IPv4, was never designed to meet the demands of today's Internet – it was a test version launched in the early 1980s that unexpectedly took off, right along with the Internet. Based on 32-bit addresses, IPv4 An IP address that is defined in 32-bit format such as 192.228.29.1. Each section can include a number from 0 to 255. The combinations of IPv4 addresses has been exhausted and is slowly being replaced by IPv6. has roughly 4 billion IP addresses available for use, and as more and more people go online with an increasing number of devices, these addresses are running out. It's like when a city runs out of 7-digit phone numbers and you have to start adding the area code.

IPv6Designed to succeed IPv4, Ipv6 employs a 128-bit format such as 2001:500:80:2::12. Each digit can be from 0 to 9 and A to F. ‘::’ as listed above indicates one or more groups of 16 bits of zeros. Over 340 undecillion IPv6 addresses can be allocated, thus ensuring that the challenge of exhausted IP addresses experienced with IPv4 will not be repeated. is the next-generation IP system. Based on 128-bit numbers, it offers trillions of addresses, more than enough to support the future growth of the web. Since the early 2000s it has been available for adoption, and while it still accounts for just a fraction of IP addresses, deployment is accelerating.

With Internet service providers An Internet Service Provider is an organization that provides access to the Internet. ISPs connect users to the Internet via connections such as dial-up or cable. ISPs may offer other online related services such as web hosting. (ISPs), equipment manufacturers, and web companies permanently enabling IPv6 for their products and services, a seamless transition is underway.

CIRA's public website, cira.ca, has been IPv6 ready since June 2011.

.CA Web sites reachable by IPv6

At present, IPv6 has still barely penetrated the .CA market, but as deployment intensifies, especially around World IPv6 Launch Day each June, we can expect to see these numbers rise steadily.

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.CA ranks as one of the safest domains to visit

Internet users as a percentage of the Canadian population

Share of time spent (%) by content

Source: comScore

Canada leads video in viewing online videos

Source: comScore Video Metrix, Views Age 15+ Home/Work Location

YouTube videos per viewer

YouTube, which owns nearly half of Canada's online video market, has seen a rise in viewing intensity over the past year.
Source: comScore

Smartphone growth in the mobile market

Smartphone penetration has reached 45 percent of the Canadian mobile market, reflecting the growing need to be connected on-the-go.
Source: comScore