Results of the survey on
phone and internet usage in Bermuda
Bermuda's computer users are on the cutting edge of technology with nine out of 10 households owning a computer, according to the latest Government report.
'The State of ICT in Bermuda 2008', which was compiled by the Ministry of Energy, Telecommunications and E-Commerce, sets a benchmark view of the Island's technological competence and residents and professionals' attitudes towards technology issues. It focused on ownership and usage of computers, the Internet, cell phones and mobile devices and software.
But the study warned the basic ICT skills may not be enough for the country's workforce to compete with "global pressures".
As far as business was concerned, 58 percent of employees had moderate or high technological competence, while 95 percent were competent in using e-mail.
Meanwhile 90 percent of large companies had a disaster recovery and business continuity plan and of those 47 percent spent more on security in the past year.
The report read: "The state of ICT in Bermuda is healthy. Both residents and businesses in Bermuda are embracing technology.
"Overall all indications conclude that there is a continual incremental development in all areas.
"Connectivity amongst the Island's residents is growing and quickly seeing an increased availability of options for broadband connectivity which is allowing for drastically higher speeds for the same price."
It said that Bermuda was fortunate to be rich enough to maintain a sophisticated infrastructure from overseas fibre optic cables through the local networks to desktops and mobile devices, with hardware and software being updated frequently, allowing for the quick uptake of new services.
"The IT literacy of the Island's residents is very encouraging, with 58 percent of residents feeling they have a moderate to high level of comprehension of software and applications," it continued.
"The challenge for the Island is to promote continuous learning of ICT skills. The basics may not be enough for the workforce to compete with global pressures.
"The 'steepness' of the learning curve increases yearly and Bermuda must treat these skills as one of the keys to long-term economic development and sustainability.
"Bermuda will continue to prosper as a premium jurisdiction if there is continued investment and progress with respect to hard and soft assets of ICT infrastructure and skills training."
The report revealed that Bermuda's population continued to have an insatiable appetite for new technology and the Island was a "top-shelf" jurisdiction for ICT, with investment by the telecommunications sector carrying on through a period of regulatory reform and ICT literacy improving over the last 12 months through public and private initiatives, but both sectors need to work together to ensure the country's intellectual capital is constantly cultivated and recognised.
The research, which was carried out by Research.bm in August and included 404 residents and 201 professionals aged 18 and above, was broken down into attitudes towards technology, access to technology and ICT literacy.
Compared to 2007, residents were more knowledgeable about technology products (male 80 percent, female 76 percent) and more interested in learning about the latest developments (male 89 percent, female 82 percent), while they also believed Bermuda needs to keep pace with its technology standards to compete in the global economy (male 91 percent, female 83 percent).
A total of 69 percent of homes had a desktop and 64 percent owned a laptop, with the amount of desktop owners falling from 76 percent to 69 percent and laptop users up from 55 percent to 64 percent from last year to 2008.
More than half of residents who own more than one computer (54 percent) had a computer network and just over seven in 10 (61 percent) network owners had a wireless network, and 84 percent of residents have Internet access, with 81 percent having a high-speed Internet connection.
Between the past two years, there was a five percent decrease in the proportion of residents who use a dial-up modem to connect to the Internet of 20 percent versus 15 percent, while cable access, which was only introduced this year, captured a seven percent share of the market.
There was also a greater usage of the Internet at work from 11 hours to 18 hours, and 11 hours per week at home, with uses ranging from e-mailing, using Internet search engines, using the Internet to look for travel information to researching products and services, online shopping or searching for information on a hobby or interest.
Consistent with last year, more than nine in 10 (94 percent) of households owned a cell phone, but this year, homes had a larger volume of mobile devices at 32 percent versus 16 percent.
In terms of ICT competence, 42 percent of residents (down from 47 percent in 2007) were classed as having low competence, 28 percent moderate and 30 percent high (up from 24 percent last year).
The percentage of firms offering formal technology training rose from 39 percent to 46 percent, with the most common training in word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software in 2008 compared to 2007.
Almost all firms had Internet access (95 percent) and the majority of companies had a DSL connection (44 percent), followed by a T1 or greater line (18 percent) and dial-up accounted for only two percent.
This year, a larger amount of businesses had a common server (84 percent versus 72 percent), with most of those using a common server having a secure server (95 percent), while 62 percent of companies with a common server had remote access.
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