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8153.0 - Internet Activity, Australia, Sep 2003  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 20/02/2004   
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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 30 September 2003.

DATA QUALITY
        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.

        The same issues related to the quality of POP data have had a more significant impact at the Statistical Division level. These data cannot be adequately quality assured and could present misleading indicators of regional activity and usage. These data are no longer available for release.
        The requirement to report number of access lines available for use of subscribers for both dial-up and non-dial up technologies has resulted in significantly improved reporting for this item and contributed to a major increase in the number of access lines reported.

        A comprehensive coverage exercise was undertaken prior to the conduct of the September quarter 2003 collection. This has resulted in a higher than usual increase in the number of ISPs being introduced to the survey. Analysis indicates that these additional units are predominently in the very small and small size ranges used in the Internet Activity Survey and that the impact on survey data is minimal.

CHANGES IN THIS ISSUE
        New questions and changes to existing questions have increased the data available for both subscriber numbers and subscriber activity relating to access technologies. For the first time, data regarding download speed of access connection have been collected allowing improved analysis of the uptake of broadband. Changes to questions on data downloaded and access lines available to subscribers have resulted in the availability of these data for both dial-up and non dial-up subscribers as well as household and business/government subscribers.

        A series of new questions on SPAM filtering products and their provision by ISPs have been introduced. Questions relating to additional services provided by ISPs have been removed for this reference period.

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 September 2003, total Internet subscribers in Australia numbered over 5.2 million, this is an increase of 135,000 (3%) from the end of March 2003. This modest increase follows the larger increases recorded in the previous two collections, 11% for the six months ended March 2003 and 8% for the six months ended September 2002.
  • Dial-up subscriber numbers in Australia fell by 85,000 (2%) in the six months to September 2003. Dial-up subscribers as a proportion of total subscribers fell below 90% for the first time.
  • The number of non dial-up subscribers grew from 470,000 at the end of the March 2003 to 690,000 at the end of September 2003, an increase of 220,000 (47%) reflecting the continuing move toward these technologies. Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) subscriber numbers grew strongly from 209,000 in the March quarter 2003 to 372,000 in the September quarter 2003, an increase of 163,000 (78%).
  • There were 667 ISPs supplying Internet access to 5.2 million active subscribers at the end of the September quarter 2003. This is an increase of 113 ISPs (20%) over the six months from the end of the March quarter 2003. About half of the new ISPs were identified from new web-based sources as part of an exercise aimed at improving industry coverage (see 'Data Quality' in the Notes section for details). All new units identified in this exercise were found to be in the very small and small categories and in general, had a minimal impact on survey results.
  • Changes to the question used to collect the number of access lines available for subscribers contributed significantly to the large increase (52%) for the September quarter 2003. ISPs now provide the number of access lines available to subscribers for dial-up and non-dial up separately. For this reason, data should not be compared to previous quarters. Data from the September quarter 2003 showed that there were just over 626,000 access lines available for dial-up subscribers and just under 681,000 access lines available for non-dial up subscribers.
  • The number of subscribers by download speed of access connection was collected for the first time. The intention is to provide a measure of broadband uptake that utilises speed of access connection rather than the technology being used to deliver the connection. The definition currently being utilised by the ABS defines broadband as “an 'always on' Internet connection with an access speed equal to or greater than 256kbps”. At the end of September 2003, there were 657,000 broadband subscribers by this definition.
  • At the end of September 2003, 384 (or 58%) ISPs offered their subscribers a SPAM filtering product as either a free or charged service. Almost 2.5 million subscribers had adopted a SPAM filtering product at the end of September 2003.
  • Data downloaded by subscribers increased by 53% from 3,046 million MBs to 4,665 million MBs. Non dial-up subscribers accounted for over 67% of the total data downloaded reflecting the much faster download speeds available.

INTERNET ACTIVITY SUMMARY, Australia
September
March
September
March
September
Quarter 2001
Quarter
2002
Quarter
2002
Quarter
2003
Quarter
2003

ISPs(a)(b)
Very small
no.
112
102
102
110
153
Small
no.
299
276
254
251
316
Medium
no.
155
161
172
160
163
Large
no.
30
26
29
26
27
Very large
no.
6
6
6
7
8
Total
no.
602
571
563
554
667
Internet Access(b)
Dial-up Access Lines
no.
626,554
Non Dial-up Access Lines
680,933
Access lines
no.
486,877
447,050
639,197
857,470
1,307,487
Subscribers(b)
Dial-up
Business and government
520
505
Household
4,087
4,017
Total
4,607
4,522
Non Dial-up
Business and government
139
190
Household
331
499
Total
470
690
Total
Business and government
'000
559
505
650
659
696
Household
'000
3,726
3,724
3,904
4,417
4,516
Total
'000
4,285
4,229
4,555
5,076
5,211
Data downloaded(c)
Dial-up
Business and government
178
Household
1,341
Total
1,520
Non Dial-up
Business and government
1,169
Household
1,976
Total
3,145
Total
Business and government
million Mbs
506
528
740
782
1,347
Household
million Mbs
780
1,303
2,172
2,264
3,317
Total
million Mbs
1,286
1,831
2,913
3,046
4,665

-- Nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
(a) See paragraph 7 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
September
March
September
March
September
Quarter
2001
Quarter
2002
Quarter
2002
Quarter
2003
Quarter
2003

NEW SOUTH WALES
ISPs(a)no.
244
236
240
212
236
Access lines(b)no.
155,291
160,100
241,541
295,563
449,591
All subscribers(b)'000
1,446
1,441
1,583
1,770
1,828
Data downloaded(c)million Mbs
435
676
1,132
1,074
1,672

VICTORIA
ISPs(a)no.
220
212
198
187
213
Access lines(b)no.
141,313
114,544
163,855
241,274
347,371
All subscribers(b)'000
1,160
1,045
1,180
1,338
1,394
Data downloaded(c)million Mbs
347
457
709
847
1,197

QUEENSLAND
ISPs(a)no.
161
151
150
146
170
Access lines(b)no.
93,985
77,432
102,767
143,362
219,800
All subscribers(b)'000
829
863
822
886
923
Data downloaded(c)million Mbs
206
308
524
464
688

SOUTH AUSTRALIA
ISPs(a)no.
70
74
65
57
62
Access lines(b)no.
31,027
31,394
34,807
44,386
84,533
All subscribers(b)'000
280
294
328
347
343
Data downloaded(c)million Mbs
99
125
141
193
396

WESTERN AUSTRALIA
ISPs(a)no.
100
100
92
85
96
Access lines(b)no.
41,104
42,647
65,044
86,538
137,786
All subscribers(b)'000
363
386
411
472
472
Data downloaded(c)million Mbs
129
173
273
303
522

TASMANIA
ISPs(a)no.
29
30
28
22
24
Access lines(b)no.
10,354
9,159
12,404
20,876
28,109
All subscribers(b)'000
95
88
98
109
107
Data downloaded(c)million Mbs
31
36
49
60
78

NORTHERN TERRITORY
ISPs(a)no.
18
21
23
15
18
Access lines(b)no.
4,163
3,661
4,701
6,860
9,340
All subscribers(b)'000
45
43
37
38
35
Data downloaded(c)million Mbs
9
16
19
26
25

AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY
ISPs(a)no.
49
46
44
37
38
Access lines(b)no.
9,640
8,113
14,078
18,611
30,957
All subscribers(b)'000
68
71
95
116
110
Data downloaded(c)million Mbs
28
40
66
80
87

AUSTRALIA
ISPs(a)no.
602
571
563
554
667
Access lines(b)no.
486,877
447,050
639,197
857,470
1,307,487
All subscribers(b)'000
4,285
4,229
4,555
5,076
5,211
Data downloaded(c)million Mbs
1,286
1,831
2,913
3,046
4,665

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


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