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8153.0 - Internet Activity, Australia, Mar 2005  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 12/08/2005   
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INTRODUCTION

The Internet Activity Survey (IAS) is a census which collects details on aspects of Internet access services provided by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Australia. This publication contains results from all identified ISPs operating in Australia as at 31 March 2005.



DATA QUALITY AND CHANGES IN THIS PUBLICATION

Estimates for data at the state/territory level are derived from data provided for POPs (Point Of Presence or servers). In recent years, changing access technologies, infrastructure and operational arrangements have been impacting on the quality of the data at the POP level. Data presented at the state/territory level should be considered only as indicative measures of the distribution of Internet activity at the reference date and not changes over time. As a result, the format of Table 1.2 has been changed to reflect this.



REVIEW OF THE INTERNET ACTIVITY SURVEY

The ABS has previously notified readers of this publication of a reduction in the frequency of the Internet Activity survey to an annual basis, with the next survey due to be conducted in respect of March 2006. More recently a decision has been made to review the collection to address ongoing concerns with the quality and relevance of the data produced. The review will consider ongoing requirements for the current range of data, new and emerging data needs related to Internet activity, methodology, scope and data collection mechanisms. Pending the outcome of this review, the survey has been suspended for at least the period up to September 2006.


If you wish to know more about the review or provide input, please write to the Director, Innovation and Technology Statistics, Australian Bureau of Statistics, GPO Box K881, Perth, WA, 6842. Subscribers will be notified separately of the outcome of this review.



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.



INQUIRIES

For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or Peter Hodgson on Perth (08) 9360 5367.




HIGHLIGHTS

  • At the end of March 2005, total Internet subscribers in Australia numbered 5.98 million. While this was an increase of 239,000 (4%) from the end of September 2004, growth had slowed following a 10% increase recorded for the six months to the end of September 2004.
  • The increase in overall subscriber numbers was again driven by growth (39%) in non dial-up subscribers from 1.3 million at the end of September 2004 to 1.8 million at the end of March 2005. Non dial-up subscribers represented 30% of total Internet subscribers in Australia at the end of March 2005 compared with almost 23% at the end of September 2004. This was the highest proportion of subscribers recorded for non dial-up technologies since the inception of the survey in September 2000.
  • Growth in total subscriber numbers between March 2004 and March 2005 was 15%, whereas non dial-up subscriber numbers grew by 109% in the same period.
  • Most of the growth for non dial-up was in the household subscriber sector with an increase of 42% in household non dial-up subscribers from the number recorded at the end of September 2004. The number of household non dial-up subscribers at the end of March 2005 was almost 1.4 million or over 77% of total non dial-up subscribers.
  • The number of dial-up subscribers recorded at the end of March 2005 fell by almost 6% to 4.2 million. This resumed a downward trend established since the collection of the subscriber type series commenced in March 2003, despite a small increase of 2% recorded at the end of September 2004, when dial-up subscribers totalled 4.4 million.
Internet Subscribers, by access technology
Graph: Internet Subscribers, by access technology

  • There were 689 ISPs supplying Internet access to 5.98 million active subscribers at the end of March 2005. While the total number of ISPs only increased by 2 over the six month period from the end of September 2004, there was more volatility when viewing ISPs by size category. The largest growth was in the Very Small size category, those ISPs with 100 or less subscribers. There were 180 ISPs in this size category, an increase of 5% since the end of September 2004. However these units had little overall effect on the aggregate figure contributing only 0.1% of total subscribers and 0.4% of total data downloaded. Growth in the Very Small size category was offset by a decrease in the number of Small (101 to 1,000 subscribers) and Large (10,001 to 100,000 subscribers) sized ISPs. As was the case at the end of September quarter 2004, there were 10 ISPs with over 100,000 subscribers at the end of March quarter 2005, although there was some change in the composition of this category in terms of individual ISPs.
  • Data downloaded by subscribers during the March quarter 2005 continued to grow (28%) to 14,124 million MBs, but had slowed from the rapid increase (72%) experienced during the September quarter 2004 when 11,004 million MBs were downloaded. Non dial-up subscribers accounted for almost 87% of the total data downloaded, reflecting the much faster download speeds available with non dial-up technology.
Internet Subscriber Downloads, by access technology
Graph: Internet Subscriber Downloads, by access technology

  • Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) remained the predominant access technology used for non dial-up Internet services with almost 70% of total non dial-up subscribers being connected using this means. There were 550 ISPs (almost 80% of total ISPs) providing Internet services using DSL access technologies at the end of March 2005.
  • 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 almost 1.8 million broadband subscribers at the end of March 2005, an increase of 39% from the end of September 2004.
  • The majority (87%) of Australian Internet subscribers used monthly, quarterly or annual plans to access the Internet at the end of March 2005. Hourly access plans were the next most dominant means of accessing the Internet with 11% of subscribers.

Internet Activity Summary, Australia

2003
2004
2005
March Quarter
September Quarter
March Quarter
September Quarter
March Quarter

ISPs(a)(b)
Very smallno.
110
153
176
171
180
Smallno.
251
316
319
323
312
Mediumno.
160
163
165
157
162
Largeno.
26
27
25
26
25
Very largeno.
7
8
9
10
10
Totalno.
554
667
694
687
689
Internet Access Lines(b)(c)
Dial-up no.
-
626,554
623,839
658,555
614,093
Non dial-upno.
-
680,933
850,506
1,300,359
1,802,437
Total no.
857,470
1,307,487
1,474,345
1,958,914
2,416,530
Subscribers(b)
Dial-up
Business and government'000
520
505
499
524
433
Household '000
4,087
4,017
3,859
3,916
3,744
Total'000
4,607
4,522
4,359
4,441
4,177
Non dial-up
Business and government'000
139
190
241
321
412
Household '000
331
499
620
979
1,391
Total '000
470
690
861
1,300
1,802
Total
Business and government'000
659
696
740
846
845
Household '000
4,417
4,516
4,480
4,895
5,135
Total'000
5,076
5,211
5,220
5,741
5,980
Data Downloaded(c)(d)
Dial-up
Business and governmentmillion MBs
-
178
137
253
304
Household million MBs
-
1,341
1,457
1,465
1,566
Totalmillion MBs
-
1,520
1,594
1,718
1,870
Non dial-up
Business and government million MBs
-
1,169
1,294
2,307
3,255
Household million MBs
-
1,976
3,521
6,979
8,999
Totalmillion MBs
-
3,145
4,815
9,287
12,254
Total
Business and government million MBs
782
1,347
1,431
2,560
3,559
Household million MBs
2,264
3,317
4,978
8,444
10,565
Totalmillion MBs
3,046
4,665
6,409
11,004
14,124

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
(a) See paragraph 6 of the Explanatory Notes for a description of ISP size categories.
(b) As at the end of the reference quarter.
(c) The collection of separate access technology details commenced from the September quarter 2003 for Internet access lines and data downloaded.
(d) During the three months up to the reference date, also referred to as the reference quarter.

Internet activity summary, State and territory

March Quarter 2005
ISPs(a)
Access lines(b)
All subscribers(b)
Data downloaded(c)
no.
no.
'000
million MBs.

New South Wales
262
817,017
2,023
4,629
Victoria
205
622,804
1,589
3,716
Queensland
182
416,364
1,065
2,359
South Australia
61
157,006
416
888
Western Australia
88
281,581
606
1,797
Tasmania
21
41,411
112
263
Northern Territory
14
18,146
43
97
Australian Capital Territory
32
62,179
127
376
Australia
689
2,416,530
5,980
14,124

(a) Based on State or Territory of operations, not Head Office location - see 'Data Quality' in the Notes section on Page 2 for details.
(b) As at the end of the reference period.
(c) During the three months of the reference period.

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