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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2007  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/01/2007   
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INTERNET ACTIVITY

In the September quarter 2000, the ABS commenced a quarterly survey of all businesses in Australia identified as providing Internet connectivity services, with the exception of libraries, Internet kiosks and Internet cafes. The survey includes businesses for which telecommunication service provision was a minor part of their business operation. The collection frequency of the survey was changed from quarterly to biannual from the March quarter 2002, and to annual following the March quarter 2005. Table 23.2 shows summary indicators of Internet activity for the March quarters 2003, 2004 and 2005:

  • There were 689 Internet service providers (ISPs) supplying Internet access to 5.98 million active subscribers in Australia at the end of March 2005. While the number of ISPs decreased slightly from 694 at the end of March 2004, the number of subscribers increased by 15% from the end of March 2004.
  • The growth in subscriber numbers was driven by the adoption of broadband access technology, as increasing numbers of subscribers are accessing the Internet using non dial-up connections. While non dial-up subscribers represented 16% (861,000) of total subscribers at the end of March 2004, this had increased to 30% (1.8 million) a year later.
  • While the majority of subscribers continue to utilise dial-up access technologies (70% of total subscribers at the end of March 2005), this represented the lowest proportion recorded since the survey began. Dial-up subscribers numbered 4.6 million at the end of March 2003, 4.4 million at the end of March 2004 and 4.2 million at the end of March 2005 (a decrease of 9.3% for the two year period).
  • Digital subscriber lines (DSL) continued to be the most popular broadband technology. The number of subscribers using DSL increased from 512,000 to almost 1.3 million during the year ending March 2005, with 550 ISPs offering this service during the same period.
  • The number of access lines rose from 1.5 million at the end of March 2004 to 2.4 million a year later (an increase of 64%). This large increase in access lines is largely attributable to the increase in non dial-up connection subscribers, where there is a 1:1 ratio of subscriber to access line.
  • Data downloaded by subscribers during the March quarter 2005 totalled 14,124 million megabytes (MBs). This represented an increase of 120% since the March quarter 2004 when 6,409 million MBs of data were downloaded. On average, each subscriber downloaded 2,435 MBs during the March quarter 2005.

23.2 INTERNET ACTIVITY, Summary indicators

March quarter

Units
2003
2004
2005

Total number of Internet service providers(a)no.
554
694
689
Internet service providers providing DSL services(a)(b)no.
310
526
550
Internet access lines(a)'000
857.5
1,474.3
2,416.5
Total number of subscribers(a)'000
5,076
5,220
5,980
Subscribers using dial-up(a)'000
4,607
4,359
4,177
Subscribers using non dial-up(a)'000
470
861
1,802
Subscribers using DSL(a)(b)'000
209
512
1,256
Data downloaded(c)mill. MBs
3,046
6,409
14,124
Average data downloaded per subscriber(d)MBs
616
1,228
2,435

(a) As at the end of the reference quarter.
(b) Digital Subscriber Line.
(c) During the three months of the reference quarter.
(d) Calculated by dividing data downloaded with an estimate of the number of subscribers at the midpoint of the reference quarter.
Source: Internet Activity, Australia (8153.0).

The ABS conducted a survey of all ISPs operating in Australia with 10,000 and over active subscribers as at 30 June 2006. There were 30 such ISPs operating in the June quarter 2006 compared with 35 businesses operating in the March quarter 2005. The main findings of the survey were:
  • At the end of the June quarter 2006, there were almost 6 million active Internet subscribers in Australia, comprising 867,000 business and government subscribers and almost 5.1 million household subscribers.
  • The number of dial-up subscribers was almost 2.8 million, compared with over 3.1 million non dial-up subscribers recorded at the end of June 2006.
  • Non dial-up subscribers increased from almost 1.7 million at the end of march 2005 to over 3.1 million at the end of June 2006. Non dial-up subscribers represented 53% of total Internet subscribers at the end of June 2006 compared with 31% at the end of March 2005.
  • Household subscribers comprise the majority of broadband connections of 2.6 million, these technologies were used by 51% of total household subscribers. A higher proportion of business and government subscribers (64%) have taken advantage of faster access speeds.
  • There were 36,232 million megabytes of data downloaded by subscribers during the three months ended 30 June 2006.
  • Digital Subscriber Line remained the predominant access technology used for non dial-up Internet services with almost 76% of total non dial-up subscribers being connected using this means.
  • Using the definition adopted by the ABS to define broadband (an 'always on' Internet connection with an access speed equal to or greater than 256kbps), there were over 3.1 million broadband subscribers at the end of June 2006.

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