1 This publication presents results from the Internet Activity Survey (IAS) conducted in respect of the three months ending 31 March 2005.
CENSUS SCOPE AND METHODOLOGY
2 The IAS is a census that covers all identified Internet Service Providers (ISPs) providing Internet access across Australia. The scope of the IAS is all Australian based ISPs operating 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 and Internet cafes which provide Internet access on a casual basis are excluded from the census. The primary source of the IAS population frame is the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) with which ISPs are required to register. The TIO list is supplemented with ISPs identified from other sources such as Internet association membership lists and industry media.
3 The IAS is conducted as a mail-out, mail-back census.
4 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 of the reference period. 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, a single ISP subscriber account may provide Internet access (or email addresses) for several people/organisations.
5 The unit for which statistics were reported in the census was the legal entity providing Internet access.
6 ISPs in this census 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 ISP 1 - 100 subscribers
Small ISP 101 - 1,000 subscribers
Medium ISP 1,001 - 10,000 subscribers
Large ISP 10,001 - 100,000 subscribers
Very large ISP 100,001 + subscribers
7 Until March 2005, the IAS was conducted biannually and the reference quarters were March and September. This equated to the end of March and September for most data items collected and the three months ended March and September for volume of data downloaded. This publication includes information reported by ISPs which were operating in Australia at the end of the reference quarter. Figures on the volume of data downloaded relate to data downloaded during the three months of the reference quarter as reported by ISPs still in operation at the end of the reference quarter. No attempt is made to collect volume of data downloaded from ISPs who ceased operation during the three months to the end of the reference quarter.
8 Following the March quarter 2005 collection, the frequency of the IAS was to reduce from biannual to annual. Recently a decision has been made to review the collection to address ongoing concerns with the quality and relevance of the data produced. The review will consider ongoing requirements for the current range of data, new and emerging data needs related to Internet activity, methodology, scope and data collection mechanisms. Pending the outcome of this review, the survey has been suspended for at least the period up to September 2006.
RELIABILITY OF DATA
9 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:
10 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, and appropriate methodology.
- 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.
11 Estimates for data at the state/territory level are derived from the data provided for POPs (Points of Presence or servers). In recent cycles, changing access technologies, infrastructure and operational arrangements have been impacting on the quality of the data at the POP level. As a result, data presented at the state/territory level should be considered only indicative measures of Internet activity at the reference date.
12 The same issues related to the quality of POP data have had a more significant impact at the Statistical Division level. These data cannot be adequately quality assured and could present misleading indicators of regional activity and usage. These data are no longer available for release.
13 ABS publications 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.
14 In particular, the ABS acknowledges the assistance of the TIO in providing regular lists of registered ISPs.
15 Other ABS publications on information technology and telecommunications in Australia are:
Business Use of Information Technology, 2003-04, cat. no. 8129.0
Government Technology, Australia, 2002-03, cat. no. 8119.0
Household Use of Information Technology, Australia, 2002 and 2003, cat. no. 8146.0
Information and Communication Technology, Australia 2002-03, cat. no. 8126.0
Use of Information Technology on Farms, Australia, 2002-03, cat. no. 8150.0
DATA AVAILABLE ON REQUEST
16 As well as the statistics included in this and related publications, 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
17 Information about ABS activities in the field of information technology statistics is available from the Industry/ Information Technology theme page on the ABS web site <http://www.abs.gov.au>.