RealTime IT News

Bigger States Dominate Internet Use: ABS

Australia's more populated states are generally dominating Internet use and data downloads, according to a variously predictable and eye-opening new quarterly survey released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

As could perhaps be expected given the number of businesses and government departments based in those states, NSW, Victoria, Queensland and the ACT had among the most prolific Internet use, with the states housing 34, 27, 20 and two per cent of Australia's Internet users respectively.

While NSW has the greatest percentage of Internet users, it ranks fifth in terms of the data downloaded per subscriber. Predictably active regions Victoria and the ACT had among the highest rates (321MB and 311MB per subscriber respectively), while perhaps more surprisingly, less populated areas Western Australia and Northern Territory also had high data download rates (312MB and 272MB per subscriber respectively).

With this more in-depth insight into Australian Internet usage patterns, the ABS is hoping to use the new quarterly survey to help plan and track development of the Internet industry. The survey has released updated data on the number of Australian Internet subscribers in the quarter to September, which is now just above 3.8 million, 3.4 million of which are household subscribers (up 11 per cent) and 432,000 of which are business or government subscribers (up 14 per cent). These users downloaded more than one billion megabytes during the quarter.

However, the survey has deliberately sought beyond the number of Australians online or the sites they visit, to look at the ISP sector and the state of Internet access and downloads.

At the end of September there were 718 ISPs, in a pyramid-shaped market segmentation that places the eight largest ISPs at the base with the lion's share of the market, around 60 per cent. At the apex reside the 132 ISPs with less than 100 subscribers, who have 0.1 per cent of the market. The largest segment of ISPs, those with 100 to 1000 subscribers, occupy roughly half of the total number, with 377 across the country, that cater to four per cent of the market.

In investigating the geographical reach of these ISPs, the survey revealed these 718 ISPs had a total of 2244 Points of Presence (PoPs) nationwide and 521,645 access lines, which on average works out to be 7.4 subscribers per access line.

Predictably, the greatest concentration of ISPs is in capital cities, which accounted for 75 per cent of Internet subscribers and 82 per cent of downloaded data. Around 1.4 per cent of Internet subscribers, or around 53,000 users, accessed PoPs in remote regions of Australia. The figure indicates there are opportunities to reach subscribers in remote areas, evidently the more cutthroat and lucrative markets remain in metropolitan areas.