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8153.0 - Internet Activity, Australia, Mar 2003  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 01/09/2003   
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ABOUT THIS PUBLICATION

This publication presents statistics on Internet activity conducted through the Internet Service Provider (ISP) industry in Australia. It contains results from all identified ISPs operating in Australia in respect of the three months ended 31 March 2003.


ABOUT THE CENSUS


The Internet Activity Survey (IAS) is a census which collects details on aspects of Internet access services and other services provided by ISPs in Australia. The census population includes all ISPs registered with the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman and those identified from other sources.

Since the September 2001 quarter, the collection frequency of the IAS has changed from quarterly to biannual, and is now run in respect of the March and September quarterly reference periods each year.


DATA QUALITY


A routine process of checking and quality assurance is maintained to ensure data quality remains high. As a result of this process, the figures are subject to revision. Where possible, revised data has been shown in the tables in the publication.

Estimates for data at the State/Territory and Statistical Division levels are derived from data provided for POPs (Point of Presence or servers). In recent cycles, changing access technologies, infrastructure and operational arrangements have been impacting on the quality of data at the POP level. As a result, data at the Statistical Division level cannot be adequately quality assured and could present misleading indicators of regional activity and usage. These data have not been published in this issue.

CHANGES IN THIS ISSUE

As noted above, regional data previously published in Table 5.1 have been removed from this issue and are available on request. See Explanatory Note 15 for details.



COMMENTS


The ABS is currently reviewing the content of both the survey and the publication; comments and suggestions are welcome. These comments should be addressed to the Director, New Economy Business Statistics Centre, Australian Bureau of Statistics, GPO Box K881 Perth, WA, 6842.


ROUNDING


Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between the sum of the components and the total. Averages have been calculated using unrounded data.


FURTHER INFORMATION


For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or Peter Hodgson on Perth 08 9360 5367.


SUMMARY OF INTERNET ACTIVITY FINDINGS



HIGHLIGHTS

  • For the first time, the total number of subscribers in Australia exceeded 5 million at the end of March quarter 2003. This represents an increase of 521,000 subscribers (11%) since the end of September quarter 2002. The majority of new subscribers (over 98%) were in the Household sector with over 4.4 million subscribers in total.
  • The number of access lines available to subscribers increased by 34% to 857,470 between the September quarter 2002 and March quarter 2003. Matching this growth has been the increasing number of subscribers with permanent or non dial-up connections, with around 470,000 subscribers at the end of March quarter 2003, an increase of over 34% from the end of September quarter 2003. In particular, Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) connections increased by 65% reflecting the continued strong growth in broadband (access speeds equal to or greater than 256kbs) services. DSL is now the predominant technology utilised to deliver broadband services.
  • Monthly/Quarterly/Annual access plans remained the most popular access plans with almost 3.5 million subscribers, or 69% of all subscribers choosing this option. However, the strongest growth was in subscribers with Hourly Access plans, which increased by 456,000 (48%).
  • The increasing uptake of broadband services is also evident in the continued, if less substantial, increase shown in the volume of data downloaded by subscribers, up 5% between September quarter 2002 and March quarter 2003.
  • The number of Points of Presence (POPs) declined by 285 (14%) over the six months to the end of March quarter 2003. The main reason for declining POP numbers is the rationalisation of POP operations by ISPs through use of different access technologies such as 0198 numbers or sharing POP infrastrucuture supplied by infrastructure providers.


ISPs


There were 554 ISPs in Australia supplying Internet access services to 5.1 million active subscribers at the end of March quarter 2003. This is a decrease of 9 ISPs (2%) over the six month period to the end of March quarter 2003. Takeovers and mergers were the predominant reason for this decrease. There were:

  • 7 Very large ISPs (with more than 100,000 subscribers) which provided Internet access to 3.6 million subscribers or 71% of all subscribers.
  • 26 Large ISPs (10,001 to 100,000 subscribers) with 0.9 million subscribers or 18% of all subscribers.
  • 160 Medium ISPs (1,001 to 10,000 subscribers) with 0.5 million subscribers or 9% of all subscribers.
  • 251 Small ISPs (101 to 1,000 subscribers) with 0.1 million subscribers or 2% of all subscribers.
  • 110 Very small ISPs (100 or fewer subscribers) with 4,000 subscribers or less than 0.1% of all subscribers.

Whilst there was a decrease of 9 ISPs overall between the end of September quarter 2002 and the end of March quarter 2003, there was also significant movement between the size ranges due to takeovers and mergers.


POPS AND ACCESS LINES


At the end of March quarter 2003, ISPs provided 1,687 POPS and 857,470 access lines across Australia, resulting in a average of 5.9 subscribers per access line. This is considerably lower than the average of 7.1 subscribers per access line at the end of September quarter 2002.


The move to broadband technologies contributes to the reduction in the ratio of subscribers to access lines due to the 1:1 nature of these 'always on' connections and their non-reliance on POPs.


INTERNET ACTIVITY SUMMARY, Australia
2001
2002
2003
March
September
March
September
March
Quarter
Quarter
Quarter(a)
Quarter
Quarter

ISPs(b)(c)
Very small
no.
129
112
102
102
110
Small
no.
330
299
276
254
251
Medium
no.
169
155
161
172
160
Large
no.
31
30
26
29
26
Very large
no.
6
6
6
6
7
Total
no.
665
602
571
563
554
Internet Access(c)
Points of presence
no.
2,310
2,171
r2,130
1,972
1,687
Access lines
no.
490,108
486,877
447,050
639,197
857,470
Subscribers(c)
Business and government
'000
482
559
505
650
659
Household
'000
3,486
r3,726
3,724
3,904
4,417
Total
'000
3,968
r4,285
4,229
4,555
5,076
Data downloaded(d)
Business and government
million Mbs
428
506
528
r740
782
Household
million Mbs
611
780
1,303
r2,172
2,264
Total
million Mbs
r1,039
1,286
1,831
r2,913
3,046

rrevised(b)See paragraph 7 of Explanatory Notes for description of ISP size categories.
(a)The collection frequency for the Internet Activity Survey changed from a quarterly to a biannual for March quarter 2002.(c)As at the end of the reference quarter.
(d)During the three months of the reference quarter.


INTERNET ACTIVITY SUMMARY, State and territory
2001
2002
2003
March
September
March
September
March
Quarter
Quarter
Quarter
Quarter
Quarter

NEW SOUTH WALES
ISPsno.
283
244
236
240
212
Points of presence(a)no.
781
704
682
662
546
Access lines(a)no.
157,253
155,291
160,100
241,541
295,563
All subscribers(a)'000
1,284
1,446
1,441
1,583
1,770
Data downloaded(b)million Mbs
337
435
676
r1,132
1,074

VICTORIA
ISPsno.
248
220
212
198
187
Points of presence(a)no.
500
465
476
416
365
Access lines(a)no.
137,465
141,313
114,544
163,855
241,274
All subscribers(a)'000
1,047
1,160
1,045
1,180
1,338
Data downloaded(b)million Mbs
250
347
457
r709
847

QUEENSLAND
ISPsno.
170
161
151
150
146
Points of presence(a)no.
437
422
418
357
315
Access lines(a)no.
99,235
93,985
77,432
102,767
143,362
All subscribers(a)'000
803
829
863
822
886
Data downloaded(b)million Mbs
201
206
308
r524
464

SOUTH AUSTRALIA
ISPsno.
73
70
74
65
57
Points of presence(a)no.
186
188
180
172
142
Access lines(a)no.
31,668
31,027
31,394
34,807
44,386
All subscribers(a)'000
278
280
294
328
347
Data downloaded(b)million Mbs
88
99
125
r141
193

WESTERN AUSTRALIA
ISPsno.
109
100
100
92
85
Points of presence(a)no.
239
224
221
221
205
Access lines(a)no.
40,861
41,104
42,647
65,044
86,538
All subscribers(a)'000
357
363
386
411
472
Data downloaded(b)million Mbs
113
129
173
r273
303

TASMANIA
ISPsno.
32
29
30
28
22
Points of presence(a)no.
73
77
71
61
48
Access lines(a)no.
10,793
10,354
9,159
12,404
20,876
All subscribers(a)'000
88
95
88
98
109
Data downloaded(b)million Mbs
17
31
36
r49
60

NORTHERN TERRITORY
ISPsno.
20
18
21
23
15
Points of presence(a)no.
32
30
31
35
26
Access lines(a)no.
4,523
4,163
3,661
4,701
6,860
All subscribers(a)'000
38
45
43
37
38
Data downloaded(b)million Mbs
9
9
16
r19
26

AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY
ISPsno.
57
49
46
44
37
Points of presence(a)no.
62
53
51
48
40
Access lines(a)no.
8,310
9,640
8,113
14,078
18,611
All subscribers(a)'000
73
68
71
95
116
Data downloaded(b)million Mbs
24
28
40
r66
80

AUSTRALIA
ISPsno.
665
602
571
563
554
Points of presence(a)no.
2,310
2,171
r2,130
1,972
1,687
Access lines(a)no.
490,108
486,877
447,050
639,197
857,470
All subscribers(a)'000
3,968
r4,285
4,229
4,555
5,076
Data downloaded(b)million Mbs
r1,039
1,286
1,831
r2,913
3,046

r revised
(a) Based on State or Territory of operations not Head Office Location.
(a) As at the end of the reference quarter.
(b) During the three months of the reference quarter.


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