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8153.0 - Internet Activity, Australia, Dec 2008 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 06/04/2009   
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EXPLANATORY NOTES


INTRODUCTION

1 This release presents results from the Internet Activity Survey (IAS) conducted in respect of the three months ending 31 December 2008. This release contains results from all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) who operated in Australia.


SCOPE AND COVERAGE

2 The December quarter 2008 IAS covers ISPs who operated in Australia at the end of the reference period. ISPs are defined as businesses that supply internet connectivity and access services to individuals, households, businesses, government and other organisations. Libraries, internet kiosks, internet cafes and hot-spots which provide internet access on a casual basis are excluded from the census.

3 The source of the IAS population frame is the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO), with which ISPs are required to register. Using this list as a basis, the ABS maintains it's own confidential list of ISPs. The TIO list may contain the following organisations that are out of scope of the IAS: those that are no longer operating as ISPs including wholesalers and web hosting only; those where there is common ownership and, as such, reporting is consolidated for these ISPs on the IAS; and other types of organisations that are required to register with the TIO (e.g. Telecommunications companies). Due to these differences in scope between the ISPs reporting on the IAS and the TIO list, proportions of ISPs will be released instead of counts of ISPs from December 2008.

4 The reference periods for this collection are December (a full census of all ISPs) and June (a reduced scope survey of all ISPs with more than 10,000 active subscribers), to align with international reporting of broadband statistics by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

5 Each December quarter, the IAS is conducted as a mail-out, mail-back census of all ISPs, with ISPs who have 1,000 or less active subscribers completing a subset of questions. Every June quarter a subset of the population, those ISPs with more than 10,000 active subscribers, are surveyed to obtain more frequent data on key patterns.

6 Connections to the internet via mobile telephones are excluded from the scope of this survey. However, mobile wireless subscriptions to the internet via a datacard or USB modem are included.


SUBSCRIBERS

7 Active subscribers are defined as subscribers having accounts with ISPs who have accessed the internet or paid for access to the internet during the three months ending 31 December 2008. Counts of subscribers are not the same as counts of people/organisations with internet access, because subscribers may have accounts with more than one ISP. Conversely, there are single ISP subscriber accounts that provide internet access (or email addresses) for multiple people/organisations, e.g. Universities.


STATISTICAL UNIT

8 The unit for which statistics are reported in the IAS is the legal entity providing internet access.

9 ISPs in the IAS have been classified by size according to the number of subscribers ISPs reported for at the end of the reference period. The size categories are defined as follows:

Very small ISP1-100 subscribers
Small ISP101-1,000 subscribers
Medium ISP1,001-10,000 subscribers
Large ISP10,001-100,000 subscribers
Very large ISP100,001+ subscribers


REFERENCE PERIOD

10 This release includes information reported by those ISPs who operated in Australia as at 31 December 2008. Figures on the volume of data downloaded relate to the three months ending 31 December 2008 as reported by ISPs operating at the end of December 2008.


RESPONSE RATE

11 The response rate for the IAS December quarter 2008 was 98.5%.


IMPUTATION

12 Where data were missing or required clarification, respondents were contacted in the first instance. When necessary, missing data were imputed based on historical data collected.


RELIABILITY OF DATA

13 As the IAS does not have a sample component, the data are not subject to sampling variability. However, other inaccuracies, collectively referred to as non-sampling errors, may affect the data. These non-sampling errors may arise from a number of sources, including:
  • errors in the reporting of data by respondents;
  • errors in capturing or processing of data;
  • estimation for missing or misreported data; and
  • definition and classification errors.

14 Every effort has been made to reduce non-sampling error to a minimum by careful design and testing of questionnaires, efficient operating procedures and systems, appropriate methodology, and contact with providers to resolve anomalies. Errors in previous cycles data are not normally revised.

15 Download data presented should only be considered as an indicative measure of internet activity during the reference period and therefore should be used with caution.


GLOSSARY

16 A glossary of the terms used in this release can be found under the theme pages for Innovation, Science and Technology.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

17 ABS releases draw extensively on information provided freely by individuals, businesses, governments and other organisations. Their continued cooperation is very much appreciated. Without it, the wide range of statistics published by the ABS would not be available. Information received by the ABS is treated in strict confidence as required by the Census and Statistics Act 1905.

18 In particular, the ABS acknowledges the assistance of the TIO in providing regular lists of registered ISPs.


RELATED RELEASES

19 Other ABS releases on information technology and telecommunications in Australia are:

DATA AVAILABLE ON REQUEST

20 As well as the statistics included in this and related releases, the ABS may have other relevant data available on request and for a charge. Inquiries should be made to the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.


MORE INFORMATION ON ABS INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY STATISTICS

21 Information about ABS activities in the field of information technology statistics is available from the Innovation Science and Technology Theme page on the ABS web site.


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