8153.0 - Internet Activity, Australia, June 2014 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/10/2014   
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Defined by the ABS as an 'always on' internet connection with an access speed of 256kbps or higher. The ABS separates broadband into fixed-line/wired (for example, DSL, cable and fibre) and wireless (for example, satellite, fixed and mobile wireless). At present, the ABS does not count broadband internet connections via a mobile handset in the main subscriber numbers, but instead publishes handset data as a separate series of data.


Broadband internet technology that uses the cable television (CATV) infrastructure. The connection uses a coaxial cable or Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC) and is typically used as the 'last mile' or 'access network' technology.

Data downloaded

The volume of data downloaded from the internet by subscribers in the three months of the quarterly reference period. Volume of data downloaded is published by the ABS in Terabytes and excludes data uploaded. The ABS collects data downloaded split by dial-up, fixed-line broadband, wireless broadband and via a mobile handset.

Dial-up subscribers

Subscribers who connect to the internet via a dial-up modem and requires the exclusive use of a phone line.

Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)

A family of technologies that provides digital data transmission over the local telephone network. This suite of technologies, now referred to as xDSL, includes Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL, ADSL2, ADSL2+) and Symmetrical Digital Subscriber Line (SDSL), etc. DSL is excluded from ABS counts where it is not used for internet connectivity (e.g. leased lines).

Download speeds

For the purposes of the Internet Activity Survey, download speed is equivalent to the advertised or theoretical maximum speed of data transfer rate. This can differ considerably from actual speeds experienced by internet users, which can vary based on factors such as the modem, the distance from the node or exchange and the level of internet traffic.


A measure of data download volume. It is equivalent to 1 billion gigabytes (GB) or 1 million terabytes (TB).


Broadband network architecture that uses optical fibre for the 'last mile' or 'access network' technology. There are a number of types of fibre deployments including Fibre to the Premises (FTTP), Fibre to the Home (FTTH) and Fibre to the Building (FTTB). Fibre used only for backhaul is excluded from counts of fibre internet connections.

Fixed wireless broadband

A terrestrial point-to-point microwave or radio link, generally building to building or tower to building, which allows subscribers within the receiving building to access the internet. Sender and receiver must generally be within line-of-sight and no more than 22 kilometres apart, although newer generations of this technology have overcome some of these obstacles. Examples of technologies included as fixed wireless are fixed WiMax, LMDS, MMDS.

Gigabytes (GB)

A measure of data download volume. A data unit of one billion bytes, sometimes interpreted as 1,024 megabytes.


A world-wide public system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet Protocol (IP). 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. For ABS purposes, the internet connection counted must provide the user with access to the World Wide Web.

Internet access

Availability of lines, points, ports, and modems to subscribers to access the internet.

Internet Service Provider (ISP)

Resident Australian individuals or businesses offering internet access services to customers. So as to avoid double counting of subscribers, the ABS collects data from retail ISPs and excludes all wholesale activities (i.e. the ABS only counts the number of subscriptions to the end user).

Kilobits per second (kbps)

A measure of data transfer rate. A unit of data transfer that equates to one thousand bits per second.

Megabits per second (Mbps)

A measure of data transfer rate. A unit of data transfer that equates to one million bits per second.

Mobile handset

A hand held, electronic, mobile device used to transmit or communicate data, images or voice over a cellular network. This includes smartphones such as the iPhone, Windows phone and Android based phones, but excludes tablets such as the iPad. Currently, the ABS counts internet subscribers via a mobile handset separately from other internet subscribers. Mobile handset data is therefore not included in subscriber counts for state, sector or speed.

Mobile wireless broadband

An internet connection which provides short range, high data rate connections between mobile data devices and access points connected to a network. Examples include mobile WiMax and 3G/4G accessed through a datacard, USB modem, tablet SIM card or any other device used to connect a computer to a cellular network (excluding a mobile handset). Mobile wireless internet subscriptions via a mobile handset are currently excluded from this category for the purposes of the Internet Activity Survey, and are counted separately in the mobile handset chapter.

Satellite internet access

Internet access provided through a satellite. The satellite acts as a microwave relay station, receiving signals from a ground-based station, amplifying them and retransmitting them on a different frequency to another ground-based station. A clear line of site is generally required between the satellite and the base stations.


An Internet Service Provider (ISP) customer to whom internet access is provided. Included are paying and non paying customers, dial-up subscribers and those with 'always on' (broadband) connections. Excluded are customers who purchase other services from an ISP, such as web hosting, but do not obtain internet access. A subscriber differs from a user or person/business as one user may have multiple accounts with a single ISP, or accounts with more than one ISP. Conversely, there are single ISP subscriber accounts that provide internet access for multiple people/organisations (e.g. universities).

Subscriber Sector

Subscribers are classified by ISPs into either Business and Government subscribers or Household subscribers. Business and government subscribers include all businesses, corporations non-profit and government organisations. Household subscribers include households, private individuals and some home based businesses. This item is self-reported according to the way that ISPs classify their subscribers, and changes in classification may impact on relative subscriber numbers. Additionally, many ISPs do not keep accurate records on the type of subscriber so there is an element of estimation in these data.

Terabyte (TB)

A measure of data download volume. A data unit of one thousand billion bytes, sometimes interpreted as 1,024 gigabytes.