Fixed-line broadband take-up rates stumble

Australia is going backwards in terms of fixed-line broadband take-up rates, according to figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The OECD found the number of ADSL, ADSL2+ and cable broadband subscribers per 100 of the population fell by 0.55 last year, while take-up rates for the OECD as a whole grew by 1.47 per 100 of the population.

Industry analysts speculated the fall could be due to Australia's love of
mobile broadband, which has higher take-up rates than other countries.

Mobile broadband, which allows users to access the internet on the go through the mobile phone networks, has certainly improved over the last year.

According to research company IDC, mobile broadband networks have improved average download speeds by 68 percent since 2008 to 2,941 kbps.

Speeds on Telstra's mobile broadband were comparable to a fixed-line connection, the researchers found. Speeds with Optus were not far behind, either.

Despite these improvements, a fixed-line broadband connection is still the fastest way to download lots of data.

The National Broadband Network (NBN) is promising lightning-fast speeds and this week more providers revealed their pricing plans for Tasmania, where the fibreoptic roll-out is well underway.

Internode is the latest broadband provider to offer plans on the network, starting at $29.95 for 15 GB at a download speed of 25Mbps, with 2Mbps upload.

Exetel is currently offering the cheapest plan, with 10GB costing a subscriber $20, while iiNet  plans start at $59.95 and iPrimus is offering 15GB at 25Mbps for $44.97 a month.

Interestingly, the NBN offers more flexibility for pricing, with internet providers now able to charge by speed and data used instead of by usage alone, as is the norm for ADSL2+ plans.