8153.0 - Internet Activity, Australia, Sep 2004  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 18/02/2005   
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Access plan

The Internet access package options available to subscribers from ISPs.

Access lines

Lines, points, ports, modem access points available to subscribers to access their ISP.

Active subscribers

Subscribers who have accessed the Internet or paid for access to the Internet through an ISP in the 90 days during the reference period.

Analog/Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN)

A telecommunications network operated by a carrier to provide services to the public.

Average data downloaded per subscriber

Calculated by dividing the volume of data downloaded during the three months of the reference quarter by an estimate of the number of subscribers at the midpoint of the reference quarter.


Abbreviation for binary digit and describing the smallest unit of information handled by a computer. One bit expresses a 1 or a 0 in a binary numeral, or a true or false logical condition. See also Byte.


Defined by ABS as an 'always on' Internet connection with an access speed equal to or greater than 256Kbps.

Business and government subscribers

All businesses, corporations, non profit organisations and government organisations who obtain access to the Internet through an ISP. Some ISPs are unable to separate out subscriber numbers for business and government. These ISPs provide business plan subscribers as a proxy.


Abbreviation for binary term. A unit of data, today almost always consisting of 8 bits. A byte can represent a single character, such as a letter, a digit, or a punctuation mark. See also kilobit and kilobyte.


Describes those technologies including coaxial cable, fibre optic cable and hybrid fibre coaxial which are capable of transmitting data at speeds of up to 2Gbps.

Data downloaded

Volume of data downloaded from the Internet by subscribers in megabytes (MBs).

Dial-up subscribers

Subscribers who connect to the Internet via modem and dial-up software utilising the public switched telecommunication network (PSTN).

Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)

More properly referred to as xDSL as this covers several digital technologies (e.g. asymmetric DSL or ADSL and Symmetric DSL or SDSL) for fast two-way data connections over the PSTN.

Free access

Free access to an email and web browsing account often provided by ISPs to staff or to subscribers as part of an introductory offer or heavily subsidised by on-screen advertising.

Fixed Wireless Internet access

Point to point microwave link, generally building to building or tower to building which allows subscribers within the receiving building to access the Internet. Sender and receiver must be within line of sight and no more than 22 kilometres apart.

Hourly access plan

A subscription option where customers pay for Internet access on an hours-on-line basis.

Household subscribers

Households and private individuals who subscribe to Internet access via an ISP. This may include some home based businesses. Some ISPs are unable to separate out subscriber numbers for households. These ISPs provide residential plan subscribers as a proxy.


A world-wide public computer network. Organisations and individuals can connect their computers to this network and exchange information across a country and/or across the world. The Internet provides access to a number of communication services including the World Wide Web and carries email, news, entertainment and data files.

Internet Service Provider (ISP)

Resident Australian individuals or businesses offering Internet access services to customers.

Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN)

A digital access technique for both voice and data. Digital alternative to an analog public switched telephone service and carries data or voltages consisting of discrete steps or levels, as opposed to continuously variable analog data. ISDN enables digital transmission over the PSTN.

Kilobit (Kb)

A data unit of 1,024 bits and generally abbreviated as kb or kbit. Data speeds are generally referred to in kilobits (kbps) rather than kilobytes.

Kilobyte (KB)

A data unit of 1,024 bytes and generally abbreviated as KB or Kbyte.

Megabit (Mb)

A data unit of 1,048, 576 bits, sometimes interpreted as 1 million bits. Faster data speeds are generally referred to in megabits rather than megabytes (hence Mbps)

Megabyte (MB)

A data unit of 1,048, 576 bytes, sometimes interpreted as 1 million bytes.

Mobile Wireless Internet access

Mobile Internet access via 'hotspots' using a microwave connection often referred to as WiFi. Most commonly utilised by laptop users although it is also becoming increasingly popular within homes and businesses with multiple computers.

Monthly/quarterly/annual access plan

A subscription option where customers pay a flat monthly/quarterly/annual fee, and receive either a set period of time online during the month/quarter/year, usually with additional fees for exceeding that time or set download limits, or a flat monthly/quarterly/annual fee for unlimited access time during the month/quarter/year with other limits usually applying e.g. maximum single session times.

Non Dial-up connections

Refers to permanent and 'always on' connections to the Internet via a variety of technologies including Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN), Digital Subscriber Lines (DSL), Cable, Wireless, Satellite, dedicated data service, frame relay, etc.


See Analog/Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN).

Satellite/communications satellite

A satellite stationed in geosynchronous orbit that acts as a microwave relay station, receiving signals sent from a ground based station, amplifying them, and retransmitting them on a different frequency to another ground-based station. Satellites can be used for high-speed transmission of computer data.


SPAM is defined as unsolicited electronic messaging, regardless of its content.


An ISP customer to whom Internet access is provided. Included are paying and non paying customers, email only subscribers, dial-up subscribers and those with permanent (non dial-up) connections. Excluded are customers who purchase other services from an ISP, such as web hosting, but do not obtain Internet access.

Volume Only

Volume only plan subscribers are only billed for data downloaded. They do not pay for time spent online and pay no monthly/quarterly/annual access fees but can be billed by any of these periods for data downloaded.