8153.0 - Internet Activity, Australia, Dec 2007 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/04/2008   
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EXPLANATORY NOTES


INTRODUCTION

1 This release presents results from the Internet Activity Survey (IAS) conducted in respect of the three months ending 31 December 2007. This release contains results from all ISPs operating in Australia as at 31 December 2007.

2 The IAS was suspended following the release of the March 2005 Internet Activity publication in order for the ABS to undertake a review of the survey. The outcome of the review was such that the full coverage IAS would recommence on an annual basis from September 2006, with a reduced scope collection each March. To align with Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) requirements, the reference period for the census is now a December quarter, and the reduced scope collection a June quarter.


SCOPE AND COVERAGE

3 The IAS covers 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, Internet cafes and hot-spots which provide Internet access on a casual basis are excluded from the census. The source of the IAS population frame is the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO), with which ISPs are required to register.

4 The reference periods for this collection have moved from September and March to December (a full census of all ISPs) and June (reduced scope survey of all ISPs with more than 10,000 active subscribers) respectively to align with international reporting of broadband statistics by the OECD. This has happened from the December quarter 2007.

5 Each December quarter from 2007, the IAS will be conducted as a mail-out, mail-back census of all ISPs, with ISPs with 1,000 or less subscribers completing a subset of questions. Every June quarter from 2008 a subset of the population, those ISPs with more than 10,000 subscribers will be surveyed to obtain more frequent data on key patterns.

6 Connections to the Internet via mobile telephones are also excluded as this is neither a permanent nor regular Internet connection and thus is beyond the scope of this survey. However, mobile wireless subscriptions to the Internet via datacard are included.


SUBSCRIBERS

7 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 ending 31 December 2007. 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, there are single ISP subscriber accounts that provide Internet access (or email addresses) for multiple people/organisations, eg Universities.


STATISTICAL UNIT

8 The unit for which statistics are reported in the IAS is the legal entity providing Internet access.

9 ISPs in the IAS 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


REFERENCE PERIOD

10 This release includes information reported by all ISPs operating in Australia as at 31 December 2007. Figures on the volume of data downloaded relate to the three months ending 31 December 2007 as reported by ISPs operating at the end of December 2007.


RESPONSE RATE

11 The target response rate for the Internet Activity Survey: December quarter 2007 was 97% for units in the population list, with 100% collection required of identified top contributors. The actual overall response rate achieved was 97%, and 99% for top contributors.

12 The total population for the survey was 438 ISPs. Overall, there were 17 ISPs that did not respond.


IMPUTATION

13 Where data was missing or required classification respondents were contacted in the first instance. When necessary, missing data was imputed based on historical data collected.


RELIABILITY OF DATA

14 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:
  • 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.

15 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.

16 Download data presented should only be considered as an indicative measure of Internet activity during the reference period and therefore should be used with caution.

17 The number of ISPs reporting to the IAS does not necessarily equal the number of ISPs operating in Australia as at 31 December 2007. Some ISPs have common ownership and as such provide data for all subsidiary ISPs on the one survey form. This should be taken into consideration when comparing the counts of ISPs from the IAS to other data sources.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

18 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.

19 In particular, the ABS acknowledges the assistance of the TIO in providing regular lists of registered ISPs.


RELATED PUBLICATIONS

20 Other ABS publications on information technology and telecommunications in Australia are:
      Business Use of Information Technology, cat. no. 8129.0
      Government Technology, Australia, cat. no. 8119.0
      Household Use of Information Technology, Australia, cat. no. 8146.0
      Patterns of Internet access in Australia, 2006, cat. no. 8146.0.55.001
      Information and Communication Technology, Australia, cat. no. 8126.0
      Use of Information Technology on Farms, Australia, cat. no. 8150.0
      Summary of IT Use and Innovation in Australian Businesses, cat. no. 8166.0
      Selected Characteristics of Australian Business, cat. no. 8167.0


DATA AVAILABLE ON REQUEST

21 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

22 Information about ABS activities in the field of information technology statistics is available from the Theme page on the ABS web site via Industry/ Innovation, Science and Technology.