33% of Canadians use e-government sites

More than 60% of Canada’s online population are turning to public sector Web sites. In the period between November of 2002 and January of this year some sites, like that of Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, experienced a 155% change in the number of unique visitors, said comScore Media Metrix Canada. Apart from federal sites, provincial portals are also attracting visitors, particularly in Alberta and Ontario. Overall, comScore said 33% of Canadians are turning to government sites as a form of communications channel.

16% of government IT spending went towards e-government

Spending on e-government in Western Europe is likely to reach USD5.8 bil in 2007, up from USD2.9 bil in 2002, according to research house IDC. In a study of 15 countries in Western Europe, titled “European eGovernment Services, Country Benchmarking and Market Forecast, 2002-2007,” IDC found that in 2002, 16% of all spending on IT services in the public sector went toward e-government. “E-government has definitely become a key component of government modernisation strategies,” said Marianne Kolding, director of IDC’s European Services research. However, Kolding cautioned that few countries were likely to achieve the eEurope Action Plan objective of having all services on-line by 2005. Among IDC’s other findings was that of the 15 countries examined, France is planning to invest the most in e-government services over the five-year period. The study also said that Ireland, Spain, Italy and Portugal are relatively sophisticated in the services they provide to the public and businesses, but challenges remain in making on-line services accessible to the general public.

E-governement users numbers stay flat

The 2003 Government Online study from TNS Intersearch indicates that the number of online government users rose from 26% in 2001 to 30% in 2002, but has remained flat this year over last. TNS surveyed roughly 29,000 adult citizens in 27 countries in 2001 and 31 countries in 2002. In 2003, the research firm surveyed over 31,000 people in 32 countries ? Canada, the US, 21 countries in Europe and nine countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

Most Countries’ Web Sites Are Ignored

Most of the world’s nations have their own Web sites, but only 20 percent of people with Internet access use them. Only 18 countries, many in Africa, remain completely off-line. The United States led the rankings of e-government “readiness,” or the amount of information, services and products offered over the Internet combined with the infrastructure ? such as telephones, computers and Internet connections ? needed to access them.

Sweden ranked second, followed by Australia, Denmark, Great Britain, Canada, Norway, Switzerland, Germany and Finland.

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UN: E-government not too successful

It seems that people are releuctant to touch base with government electronically. The report estimates that in most countries, only one in five of those with Net access actually engages with the government online, with issues such as security and privacy proving to be major stumbling blocks.