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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 next census of all ISPs will be conducted in respect of June 2013.
This approach to the IAS provides frequent and timely data on key trends keeping resource usage and provider load to acceptable levels, particularly for the smaller ISPs.
Data are released approximately 3 months after the end of the reference period.
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:
Every effort has been made to reduce non-sampling error to a minimum by careful design and testing of the questionnaire, efficient operating procedures and systems, appropriate methodology and contact with providers to resolve anomalies. Response rates are generally very high which in turn increases the accuracy and level of the data which can be released for users. Thorough editing of the data received is undertaken to ensure that the integrity of the collection is upheld.
The ability of ISPs to report volumes of data downloaded is variable. For example, there may be differences in reporting of billable vs free content, downloads and uploads may not always be separable and ISPs may use recording systems that are not extracting data download information on an equivalent basis. Data presented for this item should only be considered as an indicative measure of internet activity during the reference period and therefore should be used with caution.
Content of the IAS has evolved continuously since the commencement of the survey in 2001, so data items are not always comparable over time. This has mainly been due to the take up of new technologies which previously did not exist, e.g. dial-up replaced by broadband, higher access speeds and the emergence of mobile wireless access technology.
The number of ISPs reporting to the IAS does not necessarily equal the number of ISPs operating in Australia at the end of the reference period. 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 count of ISPs from the IAS to other data sources.
The IAS covers the supply side of the internet market where the following ABS collections cover the demand side of the internet market and should not be directly compared:
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