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8153.0 - Internet Activity, Australia, Mar 2004  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 23/07/2004   
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INTRODUCTION

The Internet Activity Survey (IAS) is a census which collects details on aspects of Internet access services provided by ISPs in Australia. This publication contains results from all identified Internet Service Providers (ISPs) operating in Australia at 31 March 2004.


DATA QUALITY

A number of reporting errors relating to the data on subscribers adopting a SPAM filtering product were discovered for the previous cycle. As a result, the September quarter 2003 figures for the number of subscribers who have adopted SPAM filtering products have been revised downwards from 2.48 million to 837,000.

Estimates for data at the State/Territory level are derived from data provided for POPs (Point Of Presence or servers). In recent cycles, changing access technologies, infrastructure and operational arrangements have been impacting on the quality of the data at the POP level. As a result, data presented at the State/Territory level should be considered only indicative measures of Internet activity.


CHANGES IN COLLECTION FREQUENCY

The ABS has conducted a review of the collection. As a result, the IAS will change from a biannual to an annual frequency following the completion of the September 2004 collection. The annual collection will continue to measure changes in the structure of the ISP industry and the number of Australian households and organisations obtaining access to the Internet through ISPs.

CHANGES IN THIS ISSUE

Two new tables have been added to this issue; the first, showing the distribution of subscribers by type and ISP size, has been added to Chapter 2: Subscriber Characteristics, the second, showing average data downloads per subscriber by type and ISP size, has been added to Chapter 4: Data Downloaded.

A change has been made to the question on SPAM filtering products and their provision by ISPs. An additional category was included to capture those ISPs who provided SPAM filtering products as both a free and a charged service. Previously only an either/or response could be given.


COMMENTS

Comments and suggestions for both survey content and this publication are welcome and should be addressed to the Director, Innovation & Technology Business Statistics Centre, GPO Box K881, Perth, WA, 6842.


ROUNDING

Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between the sum of the components and the total. Averages have been calculated using unrounded data.


HIGHLIGHTS
  • At the end of March quarter 2004, total Internet subscribers in Australia numbered just over 5.2 million, an increase of 9,000 (0.2%) from the end of September quarter 2003. This modest increase follows a slightly larger increase in the previous cycle, 3% for the six months to the end of the September quarter 2003.
  • Whilst the March quarter 2004 showed only a minimal increase in the total number of subscribers, of more interest is the compositional shift in access technologies from dial-up to non dial-up.
  • Dial-up subscriber numbers in Australia fell by 163,000 (4%) in the six months to the end of the March quarter 2004, and now account for 84% of total subscribers. This continued a pattern of decline evident since March quarter 2003 when 91% of total subscribers accessed the Internet via dial-up technology.
  • The number of non dial-up subscribers grew from 690,000 at the end of the September quarter 2003 to 861,000 at the end of the March quarter 2004, an increase of 171,000 (25%) reflecting the continuing move toward these technologies. Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) subscriber numbers grew strongly from 372,000 in the September quarter 2003 to 512,000 in the March quarter 2004, an increase of 140,000 (38%).
  • There were 694 ISPs supplying Internet access to 5.2 million active subscribers at the end of the March quarter 2004. This is an increase of 27 ISPs (4%) over the six months to the end of the September quarter 2003.
  • Using the definition currently adopted by the ABS to define broadband ( “an 'always on' Internet connection with an access speed equal to or greater than 256kbps”), there were 834,000 broadband subscribers at the end of the March quarter 2004, an increase of 27% from the end of the September quarter 2003.
  • Data downloaded by subscribers during the March quarter 2004 increased by 37% from 4,665 million MBs to 6,409 million MBs. Reflecting the much faster download speeds available with non dial-up technology, these non dial-up subscribers increased their usage by 53% and accounted for over 75% of the total data downloaded whilst dial-up subscribers increased their downloads by just 5%.

INTERNET ACTIVITY SUMMARY, Australia
March
September
March
September
March
Quarter
2002
Quarter
2002
Quarter
2003
Quarter
2003
Quarter
2004

ISPs(a)(b)
Very small
no.
102
102
110
153
176
Small
no.
276
254
251
316
319
Medium
no.
161
172
160
163
165
Large
no.
26
29
26
27
25
Very large
no.
6
6
7
8
9
Total
no.
571
563
554
667
694
Internet Access(b)
Dial-up Access Lines
no.
626,554
623,839
Non Dial-up Access Lines
680,933
850,506
Total Access lines
no.
447,050
639,197
857,470
1,307,487
1,474,345
Subscribers(b)
Dial-up
Business and government
520
505
499
Household
4,087
4,017
3,859
Total
4,607
4,522
4,359
Non Dial-up
Business and government
139
190
241
Household
331
499
620
Total
470
690
861
Total
Business and government
'000
505
650
659
696
740
Household
'000
3,724
3,904
4,417
4,516
4,480
Total
'000
4,229
4,555
5,076
5,211
5,220
Data downloaded(c)
Dial-up
Business and government
178
137
Household
1,341
1,457
Total
1,520
1,594
Non Dial-up
Business and government
1,169
1,294
Household
1,976
3,521
Total
3,145
4,815
Total
Business and government
million MBs
528
740
782
1,347
1,431
Household
million MBs
1,303
2,172
2,264
3,317
4,978
Total
million MBs
1,831
2,913
3,046
4,665
6,409

-- Nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
(a) See paragraph 6 of Explanatory Notes for description of ISP size categories.(b) As at the end of the reference quarter.
(c) During the three months of the reference quarter.


INTERNET ACTIVITY SUMMARY, State and territory
March
September
March
September
March
Quarter
2002
Quarter
2002
Quarter
2003
Quarter
2003
Quarter
2004

NEW SOUTH WALES
ISPs(a)no.
236
240
212
236
254
Access lines(b)no.
160,100
241,541
295,563
449,591
470,122
All subscribers(b)'000
1,441
1,583
1,770
1,828
1,782
Data downloaded(c)million MBs
676
1,132
1,074
1,672
2,034

VICTORIA
ISPs(a)no.
212
198
187
213
215
Access lines(b)no.
114,544
163,855
241,274
347,371
395,898
All subscribers(b)'000
1,045
1,180
1,338
1,394
1,413
Data downloaded(c)million MBs
457
709
847
1,197
1,721

QUEENSLAND
ISPs(a)no.
151
150
146
170
173
Access lines(b)no.
77,432
102,767
143,362
219,800
249,848
All subscribers(b)'000
863
822
886
923
944
Data downloaded(c)million MBs
308
524
464
688
999

SOUTH AUSTRALIA
ISPs(a)no.
74
65
57
62
60
Access lines(b)no.
31,394
34,807
44,386
84,533
90,480
All subscribers(b)'000
294
328
347
343
360
Data downloaded(c)million MBs
125
141
193
396
572

WESTERN AUSTRALIA
ISPs(a)no.
100
92
85
96
94
Access lines(b)no.
42,647
65,044
86,538
137,786
187,431
All subscribers(b)'000
386
411
472
472
480
Data downloaded(c)million MBs
173
273
303
522
798

TASMANIA
ISPs(a)no.
30
28
22
24
22
Access lines(b)no.
9,159
12,404
20,876
28,109
34,697
All subscribers(b)'000
88
98
109
107
107
Data downloaded(c)million MBs
36
49
60
78
126

NORTHERN TERRITORY
ISPs(a)no.
21
23
15
18
18
Access lines(b)no.
3,661
4,701
6,860
9,340
13,363
All subscribers(b)'000
43
37
38
35
32
Data downloaded(c)million MBs
16
19
26
25
35

AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY
ISPs(a)no.
46
44
37
38
34
Access lines(b)no.
8,113
14,078
18,611
30,957
32,506
All subscribers(b)'000
71
95
116
110
102
Data downloaded(c)million MBs
40
66
80
87
126

AUSTRALIA
ISPs(a)no.
571
563
554
667
694
Access lines(b)no.
447,050
639,197
857,470
1,307,487
1,474,345
All subscribers(b)'000
4,229
4,555
5,076
5,211
5,220
Data downloaded(c)million MBs
1,831
2,913
3,046
4,665
6,409

(a) Based on State or Territory of operations not Head Office Location.
(b) As at the end of the reference quarter.
(c) During the three months of the reference quarter.


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