8101.0 - Innovation and Technology Update, 2008  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/07/2008   
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The ABS established an ICT reference group in early 2004 involving government, industry, academic and community representatives. The aim of the reference group is to improve the usefulness of ICT statistics collected by the ABS from a variety of sources. The reference group provides a high level forum for understanding, improving and developing ICT statistics, providing members with the opportunity to discuss and consider strategies to address ICT statistical issues.

The most recent meeting of the reference group was held on 2 April 2008. The issues discussed included:

  • changes in the ABS work program in relation to ICT Statistics, in response to the ABS budget position for the 2008-09 financial year;
  • recent developments in the Australian Mobile Telcommunications Industry;
  • current and emerging ICT Strategic Issues; and
  • directions for 2011 Census of Population and Housing in relation to ICT related questions and collection strategy.

The next meeting of the reference group is expected in August 2008.


The latest publication Household Use of Information Technology, 2006-07 (ABS cat. no. 8146.0) was released on 20 December 2007. The publication presents results compiled from HUIT data collected from the Multi-Purpose Household Survey for 2006-07. Detailed Relative Standard Error (RSE) tables were provided for all survey results included in this issue.

The next issue of the publication (the 2007-08 reference period) is expected to be released in mid-December 2008, however, the new HUIT will be impacted by the recent departmental budget cuts, announced in April 2008 changes to the ABS survey program. Some data will still be produced for HUIT as much had already been collected, however only summary results for the 2007-08 reference period will initially be released. These results will include key indicators, including household access to computers, internet and broadband, but these indicators will be cross-classified by a considerably narrower range of demographic variables. Detailed data may be made available to clients on a cost-recovery basis. In addition to these summary results, this publication will provide some data from the 2006 Time Use Survey, including access to teleworking and average time spent per day on the computer and/or the internet.

The ABS plans to publish detailed results for the 2008-09 reference period in late 2009, but the tight budgetay situation has also resulted in a reduction in the frequency of the HUIT collection from annual to biennial. Accordingly, no HUIT data will be collected for the 2009-10 reference period.

For further information about HUIT statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or Siddhartha De, Innovation and Technology NSC on 02 6252 6519.


The ICT Industries Survey collects data on the production and distribution of ICT goods and services by businesses in Australia. The latest ICTIS was conducted in respect of the 2006-07 financial year. Results will be available in October 2008 – in the publication Information and Communication Technology, Australia, 2006-07 (cat. no. 8126.0).

A number of improvements have been made to the survey for 2006-07, including: the introduction of ANZSIC 2006; extension of the survey to include non-employers; and the collection of a state and territory split of income from the sale of goods and services.

The proposed ICTIS for the 2008-09 reference year will not be conducted. Instead, the ABS will be investigating options for collating data on the nature and performance of the ICT industries by means other than direct collection.

If you wish to know more about ICTIS, please contact John Jones on (08) 9360 5296.


Internet Activity, Australia, December 2007, (ABS cat. no. 8153.0) was released on 24 April 2008 for the December 2007 period. Data in this release are sourced from the Internet Activity Survey (IAS), which is a Census of all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) operating in Australia as at 31 December 2007. The Internet Activity Survey contains details on subscriber characteristics such as counts of business and government and household subscribers, subscribers by access connection by speed, subscribers by access technology, subscribers by state and territory and the volume of data downloaded by access technology.

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 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Findings from the latest publication include:
  • At the end of December quarter 2007, there were 7.10 million subscribers to the Internet in Australia. This compromised 964,000 business and government subscribers and 6.14 million household subscribers.
  • The number of non dial-up subscribers recorded at the end of December 2007 was 5.21 million, compared with dial-up subscribers of 1.89 million.
  • Non dial-up subscribers increased by 33%, from over 3.91 million to over 5.21 million between September 2006 and December 2007. Dial-up subscribers dropped by 31%, from 2.75 million to 1.89 million.
  • Non dial-up subscribers represented 73% of total Internet subscribers in Australia at the end of December 2007, compared with 59% at the end of September 2006.
  • Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) continued to be the dominant access technology used for non dial-up subscribers, with 3.81 million, or almost 73% of total non dial-up subscribers being connected using this means.
  • Wireless technology continues to increase to over 481,000 subscribers at the end of the December quarter, compared with 186,000 subscribers at the end of the September quarter 2006.
  • Satellite technology increased to over 58,000 subscribers at the end of the December quarter 2007. Data for this technology were previously not available separately because of confidentiality provisions.
  • Connections with download speeds of 1.5Mbps or greater increased to 2.51 million or 35% of subscribers in December 2007, compared to 1.13 million or 17% of subscribers at the end of September 2006. For December 2007 a breakdown of higher download speeds has been released for the first time.

The previous issue of the Internet Activity, Australia contains data which represent all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) operating in Australia with more than 10,000 active subscribers as at 31 March 2007.

The June 2008 data is expected to be released on the 22nd September 2008.

If you wish to know more about IAS statistics, please contact Peta Hart on (08) 9360 5303.


In 2005-06, the ABS implemented a new integrated strategy for the collection and quality assurance of data required for input into the Business Longitudinal Database (BLD) and the production of data on a wide variety of point in time estimates for business use of information technology (BUIT), Innovation and a broad range of other non-financial business characteristics. Collection of these data is via the Business Characteristics Survey (BCS). As a result of the Integrated Business Characteristics Strategy, summary outputs about the incidence of IT use by Australian business are published annually with more detailed information available every second year. The latest issue Summary of IT Use and Innovation in Australian Business, 2006-07 (cat. no. 8166.0) was released on 26 June 2008.

Detailed BUIT information was collected in respect of 2005-06 and the publication Business Use of Information Technology, 2005-06 (cat. no. 8129.0) was released on 7 December 2007. Data cubes associated with cat. no. 8129.0 were released in early 2008 and provide a range of cross classified output (e.g. by employment size ranges and industry). The range of data released represents almost all data that is available for BUIT from the 2005-06 collection

The next release of detailed information about the use of IT by Australian Business is due for August 2009 will be in respect of the 2007-08 reference year.