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

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