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HOW AUSTRALIA ACCESSES AND USES THE INTERNET
At 30 September 2006, 59% of subscribers used a broadband access connection when using the Internet, with 77% of these using DSL services (table 25.8).
Internet subscribers using connections with download speeds of 1.5 Mbps or greater, which enables live streaming of downloads, increased to 1.13 million (or 17% of all subscribers) in 30 September 2006 compared with 599,000 (or 10% of subscribers) at 31 March 2005 (table 25.9).
Business and farm use
For the year ended June 2005, 99% of businesses with 100 or more people employed used the Internet, while 91% had a web presence. In contrast, for those businesses with 0-4 people employed, only 71% used the Internet and 17% had a web presence (table 25.4).
The industries with the highest proportion of businesses which used the Internet were Electricity water and gas, and Cultural and recreational services (both 90%). These industries also had the highest proportion of businesses which used a computer.
The proportion of Australian businesses using the Internet or web to place orders during 2004-05 was 33%. This continues the growth over recent years of this business practice. While the proportion of businesses reporting receipt of orders via the Internet or web remained unchanged over the last few years (12% in 2004-05), the income received from these orders increased significantly over this time. Internet income grew from $33 billion (b) in 2003-04 to $40b in 2004-05 (table 25.10).
The likelihood of a business placing orders via the Internet or web increases with the employment size of the business. In 2004-05, 74% of businesses which employed 100 or more people placed orders in this manner, compared with 28% of businesses which employed 0-4 people. At the industry level, Electricity, gas and water had the highest proportion of businesses which placed orders via the Internet or web (51%), while Construction had the lowest (20%).
During 2004-05, the proportion of businesses receiving orders via the Internet or web (12%) remained unchanged from 2003-04. The proportion of businesses which received orders via the Internet or web increased with employment size; 25% of businesses with 100 or more people employed received orders in this way, compared with 10% of businesses which employed 0-4 people. At the industry level, Wholesale trade, and Cultural and recreational services industries had the highest proportion of businesses receiving orders via the Internet or web (24% and 20% respectively). Health and community services reported the lowest proportion of businesses which received orders via the Internet or web (4%).
In 2004-05, just over a half (53%) of all farms in Australia used the Internet as part of their business operations (table 25.6). The majority of farms using the Internet have a dial-up connection to the Internet (43,020 farms); 12,287 farms have a broadband connection and 8,565 farms use Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN). The highest broadband connection identified was satellite (5,694) followed by DSL (4,381).
In 2004-05, 44% of all Australian farms used a computer to manage their finances. The proportion of farms managing their finances on a computer ranged from 59% in Western Australia to 38% in Tasmania. Record keeping was another major computer activity, with almost a third (31%) of all farms in Australia keeping their records on a computer This proportion varied across the states and territories, from 43% in Western Australia to 28% in both New South Wales and Victoria.
The more common Internet activities undertaken by farm businesses in 2004-05 were email (42%), obtaining weather information (39%) and checking the availability or cost of goods or services (30%).
In 2005-06, 4.7 million households had access to home Internet; 3.2 million households were without access. Almost a quarter of these households reported they had no use for the Internet (24%), or lacked interest in the Internet (23%). A further 19% of households, without access to home Internet, responded that 'costs were too high'. A relatively high proportion (35%) of households with children under 15 years of age without access to the Internet regarded costs as the main inhibitor of Internet access.
During 2005-06, two-thirds of people aged 15 years and over accessed the Internet from any site in the previous 12 months. Home was the most popular location to access the Internet ( 57% of people aged 15 years and over) followed by work (31%) and either a neighbour's, friend's or relative's house (21%) were the next most common.
Use of the Internet at any site was significantly higher than average for younger people in the age group 15-17 years, household members in the top two quintiles of household income, people with higher levels of educational attainment and the employed. In contrast, older people, people in the lowest and second lowest household income quintiles and the unemployed registered significantly lower than average levels of Internet access.
Of the 9.1 million people, aged 15 years and over, who accessed the Internet from home in 2005-06, 65% reported personal or private purposes to be the main purpose of Internet access, followed by work or business-related purposes (18%) (table 25.11). A significantly higher proportion of income earners in the highest income quintile (27%) and people with higher levels of educational attainment (28%) reported work or business-related purposes as the main purpose of Internet use at home.
In comparison with the previous year, in 2005-06 a higher proportion of people used the Internet every day. During 2005-06, people aged 15-17 years also used the Internet more on a daily basis compared with other age groups.
Children's use of computers and the Internet
In April 2006, the Australian Bureau of Statistics conducted a household survey to obtain information on the use children aged 5-14 years made of computers and the Internet.
In the 12 months to April 2006, 92% of children aged 5-14 years used a computer either during or outside school hours. Of these children, 90% used a computer at school, 89% at home, 37% at someone else's home, and 12% at a public library.
Use of a computer was similar for boys and girls. Computer usage varied with age, ranging from a participation rate of 76% for 5 year olds to 99% for children aged 13 years. Of the children who used a computer at home, most did so on more than one day each week (75%); 25% used a computer every day.
The types of activities undertaken using a home computer also varied with age. For children aged 5-8 years, playing games was the most common activity, with 88% taking part at least once in the previous year. By comparison, 70% of children aged 12-14 years took part in this activity. Playing games was the only home computer activity which showed a decrease with age. Rates of computer use for school or educational activities, Internet-based activities, and particularly emailing or messaging, were substantially higher for children aged 12-14 years than for those aged 5-8 years.
In the 12 months to April 2006, 65% of children aged 5-14 years accessed the Internet either during or outside of school hours. This represents 70% of the total number of children who used a computer. The proportion of children accessing the Internet was the same for both boys and girls (65%). Internet access varied across the age groups with 19% of children aged 5 years accessing the Internet compared with 90% of 13 year olds.
Of those children who accessed the Internet, 85% did so at home, 75% at school, 28% at someone else's home, 9% at a public library, and 2% at other places (e.g. Internet cafes).
The most common activities undertaken using the Internet at home were school or educational activities (82%), followed by playing online or Internet-based games (51%). For children aged 5-8 years, it was playing online or Internet-based games, and school or educational activities (both 62%), followed by accessing the Internet for leisure (38%). Approximately 86% of all 9-11 year olds used the Internet at home for school or educational activities. Playing online or Internet-based games (54%) accessing the Internet for leisure (44%) and emailing or messaging (43%) were the next most reported activities for 9-11 year olds. Around 90% of all 12-14 year olds accessed the Internet at home for school or educational activities. This was followed by emailing or messaging (68%), accessing the Internet for leisure (52%), playing online or Internet-based games (43%) and downloading music from Internet sites (40%).