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8153.0 - Internet Activity, Australia, Jun 2010 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 20/09/2010   
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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 30 June 2010.


SCOPE AND COVERAGE

2 The June 2010 IAS covers Internet Service Providers (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 survey population.

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 its 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, therefore 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).

4 The reference periods for this collection are June and December to align with international reporting of broadband statistics by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The IAS generally includes information reported by all ISPs operating in Australia with more than 1,000 active subscribers, as at 30 June and 31 December. However, June 2010 is a census cycle, conducted as an on-line survey of all ISPs, with ISPs which have 1,000 or less active subscribers completing only a subset of questions. The overall contribution of these smaller ISPs was less than 1% of all subscribers for the June 2010 IAS, with no significant impact on any other data released. It is anticipated that the next census will be conducted in approximately three years. This approach to the IAS provides frequent and timely data on key trends while keeping resource usage and provider load to acceptable levels, particularly for smaller ISPs.

5 While mobile wireless internet connections using a datacard, dongle or USB modem have been collected by the IAS for some time now, internet connections via a mobile handset were included in the scope of this survey for the first time in December 2009. The data was not released as it was found that providers needed more time to adapt their reporting systems to the new requirements. For the June 2010 IAS this issue has been resolved and the mobile handset data has been published in Appendix 1.


SUBSCRIBERS

6 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 30 June 2010. Counts of subscribers are not the same as counts of people/organisations with internet access, as subscribers may have accounts with more than one ISP or multiple accounts with a single ISP. Conversely, there are single ISP subscriber accounts that provide internet access for multiple people/organisations e.g. universities.


STATISTICAL UNIT

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

8 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 or more subscribers


REFERENCE PERIOD

9 This release includes information reported by those ISPs who operated in Australia as at 30 June 2010. Figures on the volume of data downloaded relate to the three months ending 30 June 2010 as reported by ISPs operating at the end of June 2010.


RESPONSE RATE

10 The response rate for the June 2010 IAS was 99.2%.


IMPUTATION

11 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

12 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.

13 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 only revised where they have a significant impact on the data released.

14 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. In addition, some ISPs provide proportions in lieu of actual state subscriber numbers. This data therefore has an element of estimation and should be used with caution.

15 A reporting error identified this quarter has resulted in data being revised for the December quarter 2009 IAS. Due to a change in the computer systems used to process the IAS, the ABS is unable to revise data prior to this. Fixed wireless subscribers is the only data item significantly impacted by this revision and readers are advised to use the December quarter 2008 and June quarter 2009 figures 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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