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1370.0 - Measures of Australia's Progress, 2010  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/09/2010   
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Communication

COMMUNICATION AND PROGRESS

The communication of information, ideas and knowledge plays an important role in the way in which people live and do business. Australians are increasing their use of information and communication technology (ICT) and, in particular, are making more use of the Internet to purchase or order goods or services. Internet connectivity continues to expand rapidly in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member countries.

Communication is not considered a headline dimension of progress but is considered a supplementary progress dimension because of its relevance to whether life in Australia is getting better. People who have access to the Internet are able to take advantage of an increasingly diverse range of online activities and they can communicate with a broader range of people. The Internet enables some people to work from home, and can help people stay in contact with family and friends.

Measures of communication that were useful ten years ago may be less contemporary today. For example, as personal computers are now the norm in households, simple measures of computer ownership may be of less relevance to whether life in Australia is getting better. On the other hand, as more business and communication is conducted via the Internet, being without a personal computer can leave an individual or family disadvantaged. In addition, more and more devices such as game consoles and television tuners (in addition to the proliferation of mobile devices) have access to the Internet, making access to a dedicated personal computer less necessary. New devices with different and overlapping functionality are being introduced to the market each year. More and more people are taking up wireless broadband which is portable and not fixed to a physical location such as a residence. The use of fixed or landline telephones is in decline while Internet Protocol (IP) phone calls are increasing.

This commentary focuses on the Internet as an increasingly important form of communication, looking at Internet access (including broadband access) and computer ownership . Further information is also provided on how ICT is used in making online purchases and in social networks. Internet security is also discussed, as is the use of ICT by older people, children, and people living in remote areas of Australia.

Information on the use of the Internet by businesses can be found in the Productivity section.

For a full list of definitions, see the Communication glossary.

RELATED PAGES

  • Productivity
  • Communication glossary
  • Communication references
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