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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2009–10  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 04/06/2010   
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Contents >> Information and communication technology >> How Australia accesses and uses the internet

HOW AUSTRALIA ACCESSES AND USES THE INTERNET

Australians have access to a range of internet access technologies, including analog, digital subscriber line (DSL), hybrid fibre coaxial, fixed and mobile wireless, satellite and optical fibre services. The availability of these services depends upon a consumer's geographic location.

At the end of June 2009 there were 8.4 million active internet subscribers in Australia, with household subscriptions accounting for 84%, with the remaining 16% being corporate, business and government subscribers (table 25.7).

25.7 Internet Activity Summary, Australia

June 2008(a)
June 2009(b)
'000
'000

Subscribers

Dial-up
Business and government
291
215
Household
1 275
887
Total
1 566
1 103
Non dial-up
Business and government
726
1 174
Household
4 935
6 144
Total
5 661
7 317
Total
Business and government
1 018
1 389
Household
6 210
7 031
Total
7 228
8 420

(a) Data for ISPs with more than 10,000 active subscribers.
(b) Data for ISPs with more than 1,000 active subscribers.
Source: ABS Internet Activity, Australia (8153.0).


At 30 June 2009, 87% of subscribers used a broadband internet connection, compared with 13% who used dial-up services (table 25.8). The most prevalent form of access technology for broadband connections was DSL which accounted for 50% of all subscriptions. Mobile wireless technology recorded the largest growth in subscriber numbers, rising from 16% of all connections on 31 December 2008 to 23% on 30 June 2009.

25.8 Internet subscribers, by access connection - June 2009

No. of subscribers
Proportion of subscribers
'000
%

Dial-up
Analog
1 077
13
ISDN/Other
10
-
Total
1 087
13
Non dial-up
DSL
4 171
50
Fixed wireless
160
2
Mobile wireless
1 961
23
Satellite
90
1
Cable and fibre
931
11
ISDN/Other
20
-
Total
7 333
87
Total all subscribers
8 420
100

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
Source: ABS Internet Activity, Australia (8153.0).


Graph 25.9 shows the overall trend of internet access connections; notably, the switch from dial-up to non-dial-up connections. In June 2006, there were 2.8 million dial-up connections in Australia compared with 3.2 million non dial-up connections. Dial-up connections continued to decrease over the three years to June 2009 to 1.0 million subscribers, while non dial-up connections increased over the same period to 7.2 million subscribers as Australians availed themselves of broadband technology. The graph also depicts the trend in the uptake of wireless technology with wireless connections increasing from 0.1 million in June 2006 to 2.1 million in June 2009.

25.9 Internet subscribers by access connections(a)
Graph: 25.9 Internet subscribers by access connections(a)


Internet subscribers continued to switch to higher download speeds with over half of all subscriptions (57% or 4.8 million) now with download speeds of 1.5Mbps or greater (table 25.10). A speed of 1.5Mbps or greater enables live streaming of video.
25.10 Internet subscribers, By subscriber type and download speed - June 2009

Number of subscribers
Proportion of subscribers
'000
%

Business and Government Subscribers
Less than 256 kbps
215
3
Broadband(a)
256kbps to less than 512kbps
124
1
512kbps to less than 1.5Mbps
166
2
1.5Mbps to less than 8Mbps
698
8
8Mbps to less than 24Mbps
147
2
24Mbps or greater
39
-
Total broadband (256kbps or greater)
1 174
14
Total all download speeds
1 389
16
Household Subscribers
Less than 256 kbps
887
11
Broadband(a)
256kbps to less than 512kbps
1 173
14
512kbps to less than 1.5Mbps
1 084
13
1.5Mbps to less than 8Mbps
1 831
22
8Mbps to less than 24Mbps
1 652
20
24Mbps or greater
404
5
Total broadband (256kbps or greater)
6 144
73
Total all download speeds
7 031
84
All Subscribers
Less than 256 kbps
1 103
13
Broadband(a)
256kbps to less than 512kbps
1 297
15
512kbps to less than 1.5Mbps
1 249
15
1.5Mbps to less than 8Mbps
2 529
30
8Mbps to less than 24Mbps
1 800
21
24Mbps or greater
443
5
Total broadband (256kbps or greater)
7 317
87
Total all download speeds
8 420
100

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
(a) Broadband refers to an 'always on' Internet connection with an access speed equal to or greater than 256 kbps.
Source: ABS Internet Activity, Australia (8153.0).



Business use

The proportion of Australian businesses using the Internet to place orders during 2007-08 was 43% which continued the pattern of growth over recent years of this business practice. The proportion of businesses reporting receipt of orders via the internet has remained relatively steady over the past two years, moving from 21% in 2005-06 to 24% in 2007-08, although the overall volume of income that resulted from orders received via the internet for goods or services increased significantly from $56.7b to $81.0b over the same time frame. In terms of the percentage of income received from these orders, the majority of businesses received less than 10% of their income from orders received in this manner.

25.11 Internet commerce(a)

2002-03
2003-04
2004-05
2005-06
2006-07
2007-08

Businesses which
Placed orders via the Internet or web %
28
31
33
37
40
43
Received orders via the Internet or web %
13
12
12
21
23
24
Internet income $b
24.3
33.3
39.6
56.7
67.6
81.0

(a) Proportions are of all businesses.
Source: ABS Business Use of Information Technology (8129.0).


As with web presence and internet access, the likelihood of a business placing orders via the Internet or web increased with the employment size of the business (table 25.12). In 2007-08, 71% of businesses with 200 or more employees placed orders in this manner, compared with 37% of businesses with 0-4 employees. At the industry level, Information media and telecommunications had the highest proportion of businesses which placed orders via the Internet or web (61%), while Transport, postal and warehousing and Construction both reported the lowest proportions (28% and 30% respectively).

There was less variability by employment size for businesses receiving orders via the Internet or web. Businesses with 20-199 employees received the highest proportion of orders in this way (32%), compared with those employing 0-4 people which received the lowest proportion (21%). At the industry level, Information media and telecommunications had the highest proportion of businesses which received orders via the Internet or web (41%), while the lowest proportion was recorded for Health care and social assistance (11%).

25.12 Business use of selected technologies, By employment size and industry - 2007-08

Businesses which:

Placed orders via the Internet or web
Received orders via the Internet or web
%
%

Employment size
0-4 persons
37
21
5-19 persons
51
29
20-199 persons
59
32
200 or more persons
71
29
Industry
Mining
46
14
Manufacturing
46
38
Electricity, gas, water and waste services
34
23
Construction
30
19
Wholesale trade
50
40
Retail trade
48
32
Accommodation and food services
33
17
Transport, postal and warehousing
28
17
Information, media and telecommunications
61
41
Financial and insurance services
50
19
Rental, hiring and real estate services
51
24
Professional, scientific and technical services
60
26
Administrative and support services
43
22
Health care and social assistance
39
11
Arts and recreation services
51
24
Other services
32
17
Total
43
24

Source: ABS Business Use of Information Technology (8129.0).



Personal use

During 2008-09, three quarters (74%) of people aged 15 years or over accessed the internet in the previous 12 months (table 25.13). Home was the most popular location to access the internet for two thirds (68%) of people aged 15 years or over, followed by work (35%) and a neighbour's, friend's or relative's house (25%).

Use of the internet at any location was significantly higher than average (74%) for those with the following characteristics: people aged 15 to 17 years (94%); people from households in the top two income quintiles (93% for the highest and 87% for the second highest); people with higher levels of educational attainment (93% for people with a Bachelor degree or above); and the employed (85%). In contrast, older people (31% for people 65 or over), people with lower household incomes (44% for people in the lowest quintile), people not employed (54%) and Indigenous people (62%) reported significantly lower than average levels of internet access.

In 2008-09, 71% of people accessing the internet from home reported personal or private purposes as the main purpose of internet access, followed by work related purposes (17%) (see table 25.13). Work related purposes were reported more frequently as the main purpose of internet use at home among income earners in the highest income quintile (27%) and people with higher levels of educational attainment (27% of people with a Bachelor degree or higher).
25.13 Use of Internet at home, By main purpose - 2008-09

No. of persons aged 15 years or over who used the Internet at home
Personal or private purposes
Work or business related purposes
Education or study related purposes
Voluntary or community purpose
Other purposes
Could not be determined
Characteristics
'000
%
%
%
%
%
%

Age group (years)
15-17
755
71
np
27
np
np
*2
18-24
1 659
75
np
20
np
np
**1
25-34
2 382
75
15
^8
-
*1
*1
35-44
2 461
68
24
^6
*1
-
*1
45-54
2 163
66
25
^7
*1
*1
*1
55-64
1 393
71
21
*3
^4
*1
*1
65 or over
779
80
^10
*2
^4
*2
*1
Sex
Male
5 814
70
20
8
^1
-
^1
Female
5 777
73
13
11
^1
^1
^1
Personal income
Less than $40,000(a)
5 391
74
9
14
^1
-
^1
$40,000-$79,999
3 271
74
18
^6
*1
*1
^1
$80,000-$119,000
934
61
32
^5
**1
np
np
$120,000 or over
529
49
46
*3
**2
np
np
Could not be determined
1 466
71
20
^5
*1
*1
*2
Equivalised household income quintiles
Lowest quintile
827
69
^13
^16
*2
**1
-
Second quintile
1 568
75
^10
^12
^2
-
*1
Third quintile
1 910
75
14
^9
^1
*1
*1
Fourth quintile
2 241
74
17
7
*1
-
*1
Highest quintile
2 361
64
27
^7
*1
*1
^1
Could not be determined
2 684
72
15
10
^1
-
*1
Labour force status(b)
Employed
8 647
70
21
7
^1
-
^1
Not employed
2 944
77
^3
15
^3
*1
*1
Indigenous
Non Indigenous
11 491
71
17
9
np
np
np
Indigenous
^100
^66
*18
**10
np
np
np
Level of highest educational attanment
Bachelor degree or above
2 989
60
27
10
^2
-
^1
Advanced diploma or diploma
1 361
73
17
^8
*1
**1
*1
Certificate
2 009
75
17
^5
*1
*1
*1
Year 12 or below
5 053
76
10
12
^1
*1
^1
State or territory
New South Wales
3 776
71
17
10
*1
*1
*1
Victoria
2 951
72
16
10
^2
-
*1
Queensland
2 303
71
17
^9
*2
*1
*1
South Australia
824
71
15
11
*1
*1
*1
Western Australia
1 202
72
19
^7
*1
np
np
Tasmania
235
75
^16
^7
*1
np
np
Northern Territory
87
72
^18
*8
**1
-
**1
Australian Capital Territory
212
76
^14
^7
**2
np
np
Remoteness area
Major cities of Australia
8 477
71
17
10
^1
-
^1
Inner regional Australia
2 134
73
16
^8
^2
-
*1
Outer regional Australia
844
71
^19
^8
np
np
*1
Remote Australia
^127
73
^20
**1
np
np
*3
Region
Metropolitan areas
7 832
71
17
10
^1
-
^1
Ex-metropolitan areas
3 759
73
17
^8
^2
*1
^1
Total
11 591
71
17
9
^1
-
^1

^ estimate has a relative standard error of 10% to less than 25% and should be used with caution
* estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution
** estimate has a relative standard error greater than 50% and is considered too unreliable for general use
- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
np not available for publication but included in totals where applicable, unless otherwise indicated
(a) Includes those persons with income less than zero.
(b) Labour force status in the week before the survey.
Source: ABS Household Use of Information Technology, Australia 2008-09 (8146.0).


The proportion of people accessing the internet at home who used the internet every day grew from 51% in 2007-08 to 58% in 2008-09. During 2008-09, two-thirds (67%) of people aged 15-34 years accessed the internet every day, compared with around half (52%) the people aged 35 years or more. Nearly all (94%) people with access to the internet used it at least weekly.


Children's use of the internet and mobile phones

The 2009 Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities survey reported that of the 2.7 million children aged 5 to 14 years, 79% used the internet. Home was reported as the most common site of internet use (73%) followed by school (69%). Of the 2.0 million children accessing the internet at home in 2009, educational activities (85%) and playing online games (69%) were the most common activities. Less than half (42%) of children who used the internet at home did so for 2 hours or less per week, while 4% were online for 20 hours or more.

In 2009 an estimated 841,000 children (31%) aged 5 to 14 years had access to their own mobile phones. Of these children, the majority (60%) used their mobile phone mostly to contact family. Only a small proportion of children (4%) used their mobile phone to access the internet.



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