8153.0 - Internet Activity, Australia, Dec 2009 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/03/2010   
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1 This release presents results from the Internet Activity Survey (IAS) conducted in respect of the three months ending 31 December 2009.


2 The December 2009 IAS covers ISPs who operated in Australia and reported more than 1,000 active subscribers 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 survey.

3 The source of the IAS population frame is the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO), with which ISPs are required to register. Using this list as a basis, the ABS maintains its own confidential list of ISPs. The TIO list may contain the following organisations that are out of scope of the IAS: those that are no longer operating as ISPs including wholesalers and web hosting only; those where there is common ownership and, therefore reporting is consolidated for these ISPs on the IAS; and other types of organisations that are required to register with the TIO (e.g. Telecommunications companies).

4 The reference periods for this collection are December and June to align with international reporting of broadband statistics by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The IAS includes information reported by all ISPs operating in Australia, with more than 1,000 active subscribers, as at 31 December and 30 June. Every three years a full census of all Australian ISPs, including those with 1,000 or less subscribers, is conducted. The last census of all ISPs was conducted in December 2008. The census is conducted as an on-line survey of all ISPs, with ISPs who have 1,000 or less active subscribers completing a subset of questions. Their overall contribution to the December 2008 IAS was less than 1% of all subscribers with no impact on any other data released. This approach to the IAS provides frequent and timely data on key trends while keeping resource usage and provider load to acceptable levels, particularly for the smaller ISPs.

5 While mobile wireless internet connections using a datacard, dongle or USB modem have been collected by the IAS for some time now, internet connections via a mobile hand-set are included in the scope of this survey for the first time in December 2009. However, data published will continue to exclude internet connections via mobile hand-sets while the ABS refines its definitions and methodology, and provider reporting systems are adapted to provide reliable data. It is expected that this new information will be released for the June 2010 survey.


6 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 2009. Counts of subscribers are not the same as counts of people/organisations with internet access, as subscribers may have accounts with more than one ISP or multiple accounts with a single ISP. Conversely, there are single ISP subscriber accounts that provide internet access for multiple people/organisations e.g. universities.


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

8 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 ISP1-100 subscribers
Small ISP101-1,000 subscribers
Medium ISP1,001-10,000 subscribers
Large ISP10,001-100,000 subscribers
Very large ISP100,001 or more subscribers


9 This release includes information reported by those ISPs who operated in Australia as at 31 December 2009. Figures on the volume of data downloaded relate to the three months ending 31 December 2009 as reported by ISPs operating at the end of December 2009.


10 The response rate for the December 2009 IAS was 99%.


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


12 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.

13 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, appropriate methodology, and contact with providers to resolve anomalies. Errors in previous cycles data are only revised where they have a significant impact on the data released.

14 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.


15 A glossary of the terms used in this release can be found under the theme pages for Innovation, Science and Technology.


16 ABS releases 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.

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


18 Other ABS releases on information technology and telecommunications in Australia are:


19 As well as the statistics included in this and related releases, 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.


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