Sources and methods
23.124 The ICT satellite account data was sourced primarily from ABS collections, namely:
- ICT Industry Survey (ICTIS)
- Economic Activity Survey
- Balance of Payments and Trade
- Government Technology Survey
- Household Use of IT Survey
- Business Use of IT Survey
- Internet Activity Survey
- Surveys of Research and Experimental Development
- Household Expenditure Survey
- Labour Force Survey
23.125 As previously mentioned, the basic compilation framework for the ICT satellite account was the national accounts 'supply and use' system. It was adapted to focus on ICT products and the industries producing or distributing those products. Fundamentally, the system consisted of a supply table that tracked the supply of ICT products from imports and from Australian producers, and a use table that tracked the use of those products by industries, government, households and for export. In order to satisfy the identity that the supply and use of products must be equal, discrepancies due to deficiencies in the source data were identified and resolved. A great strength of the framework was that it facilitated this data confrontation and provided a basis for optimising the quality of the overall estimates in the face of deficiencies and gaps in data coverage.
23.126 International experience showed that the measurement of ICT transactions was not easy, particularly given the intangible nature of software, the licencing and leasing arrangements involved and the bundling of ICT products. It was therefore inevitable that a range of significant data and other issues required close attention in producing the ICT satellite account. An outline of these issues is provided in Appendix 5 of the Australian National Accounts: Information and Communication Technology Satellite Account, 2002-03 (cat. no. 5259.0). Inevitably, a number of judgement calls were necessary to integrate the data. Consequently, the results were considered experimental.