Australian Bureau of Statistics

Rate the ABS website
ABS Home > Statistics > By Release Date
ABS @ Facebook ABS @ Twitter ABS RSS ABS Email notification service
1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2008  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/02/2008   
   Page tools: Print Print Page RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product  
Contents >> Information and communication technology >> How Australia accesses and uses the Internet

HOW AUSTRALIA ACCESSES AND USES THE INTERNET

Australian consumers have access to a range of Internet access technologies, including analog, digital subscriber line (DSL), hybrid fibre coaxial, wireless, satellite and optical fibre services. The availability of these services depends upon a consumer's geographic location.

At 30 September 2006 there were 6.7 million active Internet subscribers in Australia with 3.9 million using a broadband access connection and 2.7 million using dial-up services (table 25.7).

25.7 INTERNET ACCESS ACTIVITY

March quarter 2005
September quarter 2006

ISPs(a)

Very small no.
180
124
Small no.
312
199
Medium no.
162
112
Large no.
25
22
Very large no.
10
10
Total no.
689
467

Subscribers

Dial-up
Business and government '000
433
277
Household '000
3 744
2 472
Total '000
4 177
2 749
Non dial-up
Business and government '000
412
549
Household '000
1 391
3 360
Total '000
1 802
3 908
Total
Business and government '000
845
826
Household '000
5 135
5 831
Total '000
5 980
6 657

(a) Includes all ISPs live at the reference period.
Source: Internet Activity, Australia (8153.0).


At 30 September 2006, 59% of subscribers used a broadband access connection when using the Internet, with 77% of these using DSL services (table 25.8).

25.8 INTERNET ACCESS, By access technology - September 2006

Subscribers
'000
%

Dial-up
Analog
2 724
41
ISDN/Satellite/Other
25
-
Total
2 749
41
Non dial-up
ISDN
3
-
DSL
2 995
45
Wireless
186
3
Cable/Satellite/Other
725
11
Total
3 908
59
Total
6 657
100

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
Source: Internet Activity, Australia (8153.0).


Internet subscribers using connections with download speeds of 1.5 Mbps or greater, which enables live streaming of downloads, increased to 1.13 million (or 17% of all subscribers) in 30 September 2006 compared with 599,000 (or 10% of subscribers) at 31 March 2005 (table 25.9).

25.9 INTERNET ACCESS, By subscriber type and download speeds - September 2006

Number of subscribers
Proportion of subscribers
'000
%

Business and government subscribers
Less than 256 kbps
279
34
Broadband(a)
256 kbps to less than 512 kbps
176
21
512 kbps to less than 1.5 Mbps
218
26
1.5 Mbps or greater
153
19
Total
547
66
Total all access speeds
826
100
Household subscribers
Less than 256 kbps
2 478
42
Broadband(a)
256 kbps to less than 512 kbps
1 150
20
512 kbps to less than 1.5 Mbps
1 224
21
1.5 Mbps or greater
978
17
Total
3 353
57
Total all access speeds
5 831
100
All subscribers
Less than 256 kbps
2 757
41
Broadband(a)
256 kbps to less than 512 kbps
1 327
20
512 kbps to less than 1.5 Mbps
1 442
22
1.5 Mbps or greater
1 131
17
Total
3 900
59
Total all access speeds
6 657
100

(a) Broadband refers to an 'always on' Internet connection with an access speed equal to or greater than 256 kbps.
Source: Internet Activity, Australia (8153.0).



Business and farm use

For the year ended June 2005, 99% of businesses with 100 or more people employed used the Internet, while 91% had a web presence. In contrast, for those businesses with 0-4 people employed, only 71% used the Internet and 17% had a web presence (table 25.4).

The industries with the highest proportion of businesses which used the Internet were Electricity water and gas, and Cultural and recreational services (both 90%). These industries also had the highest proportion of businesses which used a computer.

The proportion of Australian businesses using the Internet or web to place orders during 2004-05 was 33%. This continues the growth over recent years of this business practice. While the proportion of businesses reporting receipt of orders via the Internet or web remained unchanged over the last few years (12% in 2004-05), the income received from these orders increased significantly over this time. Internet income grew from $33 billion (b) in 2003-04 to $40b in 2004-05 (table 25.10).

25.10 ORDERS FOR GOODS AND SERVICES VIA THE INTERNET OR WEB

2000-01
2001-02
2002-03
2003-04
2004-05

Businesses which
Placed orders via the Internet or web(a) %
20
25
28
31
33
Received orders via the Internet or web(a) %
9
6
13
12
12
Internet income $b
9
11
24
33
40

(a) Proportions are of all businesses.
Source: Business Use of Information Technology, Australia (8129.0).


The likelihood of a business placing orders via the Internet or web increases with the employment size of the business. In 2004-05, 74% of businesses which employed 100 or more people placed orders in this manner, compared with 28% of businesses which employed 0-4 people. At the industry level, Electricity, gas and water had the highest proportion of businesses which placed orders via the Internet or web (51%), while Construction had the lowest (20%).

During 2004-05, the proportion of businesses receiving orders via the Internet or web (12%) remained unchanged from 2003-04. The proportion of businesses which received orders via the Internet or web increased with employment size; 25% of businesses with 100 or more people employed received orders in this way, compared with 10% of businesses which employed 0-4 people. At the industry level, Wholesale trade, and Cultural and recreational services industries had the highest proportion of businesses receiving orders via the Internet or web (24% and 20% respectively). Health and community services reported the lowest proportion of businesses which received orders via the Internet or web (4%).

In 2004-05, just over a half (53%) of all farms in Australia used the Internet as part of their business operations (table 25.6). The majority of farms using the Internet have a dial-up connection to the Internet (43,020 farms); 12,287 farms have a broadband connection and 8,565 farms use Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN). The highest broadband connection identified was satellite (5,694) followed by DSL (4,381).

In 2004-05, 44% of all Australian farms used a computer to manage their finances. The proportion of farms managing their finances on a computer ranged from 59% in Western Australia to 38% in Tasmania. Record keeping was another major computer activity, with almost a third (31%) of all farms in Australia keeping their records on a computer This proportion varied across the states and territories, from 43% in Western Australia to 28% in both New South Wales and Victoria.

The more common Internet activities undertaken by farm businesses in 2004-05 were email (42%), obtaining weather information (39%) and checking the availability or cost of goods or services (30%).


Household use

In 2005-06, 4.7 million households had access to home Internet; 3.2 million households were without access. Almost a quarter of these households reported they had no use for the Internet (24%), or lacked interest in the Internet (23%). A further 19% of households, without access to home Internet, responded that 'costs were too high'. A relatively high proportion (35%) of households with children under 15 years of age without access to the Internet regarded costs as the main inhibitor of Internet access.

During 2005-06, two-thirds of people aged 15 years and over accessed the Internet from any site in the previous 12 months. Home was the most popular location to access the Internet ( 57% of people aged 15 years and over) followed by work (31%) and either a neighbour's, friend's or relative's house (21%) were the next most common.

Use of the Internet at any site was significantly higher than average for younger people in the age group 15-17 years, household members in the top two quintiles of household income, people with higher levels of educational attainment and the employed. In contrast, older people, people in the lowest and second lowest household income quintiles and the unemployed registered significantly lower than average levels of Internet access.

25.11 USE OF INTERNET AT HOME, By main purpose - 2005-06

No. of persons aged 15 years or over who used the Internet at home
Personal or private purposes
Work or business related purposes
Education or study related purposes
Voluntary or community purpose
Other purposes
Don't know
Characteristic
000
%
%
%
%
%
%

Age group (years)
15-17
657
60
-
38
-
**1
*1
18-24
1 324
65
^5
28
-
*1
**1
25-34
1 840
68
18
11
*1
*2
-
35-44
1 991
66
23
^8
^1
^1
*1
45-54
1 739
61
26
^9
^2
*1
-
55-64
1 054
65
24
^6
^2
*2
**1
65 or over
450
76
^11
^4
*6
*2
**1
Sex
Male
4 591
65
21
10
^1
^1
^1
Female
4 465
65
15
17
^1
^1
^1
Personal income
$0-$39,999(a)
4 890
68
10
19
^1
^1
^1
$40,000-$79,999
2 412
67
22
8
^2
^1
-
$80,000-$119,000
566
53
38
^7
**1
np
np
$120,000 or over
282
48
^46
*3
**1
np
np
Could not be determined
906
60
25
^9
*2
*2
*2
Labour force status(b)
Employed
6 724
63
23
11
^1
^1
^1
Not employed
2 331
72
^3
19
^2
^2
*1
Indigenous
Non-Indigenous
9 012
65
18
13
^1
^1
^1
Indigenous
^44
^65
*9
*26
-
-
-
State or territory
New South Wales
3 054
64
19
14
^1
*1
*1
Victoria
2 221
65
17
14
^2
^1
*1
Queensland
1 765
67
17
12
*1
^2
*1
South Australia
661
66
18
^14
np
^1
np
Western Australia
935
65
19
^12
*1
*2
-
Tasmania
184
68
^14
^12
*2
*2
**2
Northern Territory
63
^66
^14
^17
np
-
np
Australian Capital Territory
173
68
^17
^13
*1
-
**1
Remoteness area
Major cities of Australia
6 323
65
18
14
^1
^1
^1
Inner regional Australia
1 781
66
18
12
^2
^1
*1
Outer regional Australia
834
64
^19
^12
np
*2
np
Remote Australia
^118
^64
^25
^10
np
-
np
Region
Metropolitan areas
6 162
65
18
14
^1
^1
^1
Ex-metropolitan areas
2 894
67
18
11
^2
^1
*1
Total persons
9 056
65
18
13
^1
^1
^1

^ estimate has a relative standard error of 10% to less than 25% and should be used with caution
* estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution
** estimate has a relative standard error greater than 50% and is considered too unreliable for general use
- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
np not available for publication but included in totals where applicable, unless otherwise indicated
(a) Includes those persons with income less than zero.
(b) Labour force status in the week before the survey.
Source: Household Use of Information Technology, Australia (8146.0).


Of the 9.1 million people, aged 15 years and over, who accessed the Internet from home in 2005-06, 65% reported personal or private purposes to be the main purpose of Internet access, followed by work or business-related purposes (18%) (table 25.11). A significantly higher proportion of income earners in the highest income quintile (27%) and people with higher levels of educational attainment (28%) reported work or business-related purposes as the main purpose of Internet use at home.

In comparison with the previous year, in 2005-06 a higher proportion of people used the Internet every day. During 2005-06, people aged 15-17 years also used the Internet more on a daily basis compared with other age groups.


Children's use of computers and the Internet

In April 2006, the Australian Bureau of Statistics conducted a household survey to obtain information on the use children aged 5-14 years made of computers and the Internet.

In the 12 months to April 2006, 92% of children aged 5-14 years used a computer either during or outside school hours. Of these children, 90% used a computer at school, 89% at home, 37% at someone else's home, and 12% at a public library.

Use of a computer was similar for boys and girls. Computer usage varied with age, ranging from a participation rate of 76% for 5 year olds to 99% for children aged 13 years. Of the children who used a computer at home, most did so on more than one day each week (75%); 25% used a computer every day.

The types of activities undertaken using a home computer also varied with age. For children aged 5-8 years, playing games was the most common activity, with 88% taking part at least once in the previous year. By comparison, 70% of children aged 12-14 years took part in this activity. Playing games was the only home computer activity which showed a decrease with age. Rates of computer use for school or educational activities, Internet-based activities, and particularly emailing or messaging, were substantially higher for children aged 12-14 years than for those aged 5-8 years.

In the 12 months to April 2006, 65% of children aged 5-14 years accessed the Internet either during or outside of school hours. This represents 70% of the total number of children who used a computer. The proportion of children accessing the Internet was the same for both boys and girls (65%). Internet access varied across the age groups with 19% of children aged 5 years accessing the Internet compared with 90% of 13 year olds.

Of those children who accessed the Internet, 85% did so at home, 75% at school, 28% at someone else's home, 9% at a public library, and 2% at other places (e.g. Internet cafes).

The most common activities undertaken using the Internet at home were school or educational activities (82%), followed by playing online or Internet-based games (51%). For children aged 5-8 years, it was playing online or Internet-based games, and school or educational activities (both 62%), followed by accessing the Internet for leisure (38%). Approximately 86% of all 9-11 year olds used the Internet at home for school or educational activities. Playing online or Internet-based games (54%) accessing the Internet for leisure (44%) and emailing or messaging (43%) were the next most reported activities for 9-11 year olds. Around 90% of all 12-14 year olds accessed the Internet at home for school or educational activities. This was followed by emailing or messaging (68%), accessing the Internet for leisure (52%), playing online or Internet-based games (43%) and downloading music from Internet sites (40%).

Previous PageNext Page


Bookmark and Share. Opens in a new window


Commonwealth of Australia 2014

Unless otherwise noted, content on this website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia Licence together with any terms, conditions and exclusions as set out in the website Copyright notice. For permission to do anything beyond the scope of this licence and copyright terms contact us.