Who's Using Broadband in Australia?

The number of Australians connected to broadband internet connections at home has increased steadily since the late 1990s. Interestingly, one study has revealed that the majority of Australians now spend more time on the internet than watching TV. In June 2008, three quarters (6.2 million) of Australian households had access to a home computer. 5.5 million Australian households also have an active broadband internet connection. As the price of quality hardware continues to fall the number of homes with computers is set to rise.

In June 2008 Australia had 7.2 million active internet subscriptions with 80% of these being broadband connections. This means there were almost 4 million broadband subscribers to a Naked DSL, ADSL or ADSL2+ service.

Cable, satellite and dial up subscriptions have remained fairly stable over the past few years. In contrast, ADSL connections grew 6% in the six months before June 2008, demonstrating the popularity of ADSL broadband in Australia.

There is also general trend toward faster internet connections in Australia with the number of subscriptions at speeds above 1500kbps increasing from 2.5 million in 2007 to 3.1 million in June 2008. While there are an increasing number of consumers making the switch from dial-up to a fast broadband or cable connection, there were still 1.57 million dial-up subscribers in June 2008.

On an international scale Australia has a relatively high level of computer access with 75% of Australians having a personal computer at home. The international statistics of home computers in 2008 ranged from 89.1% in Iceland to 12.2% in Turkey. Australia was also above the European average of 43.4% with 52% of the population currently subscribed to broadband internet. Nationwide, ACT has the highest percent of broadband supplied households (68 %,) while Tasmania retained the lowest number connections at 39%.

Mobile internet connections are also gaining popularity as more providers offer mobile connections with greater coverage. Mobile broadband subscriptions grew almost 90% to 809,000 subscribers in the year to September 2008.

This accounted for 14% of all Australian broadband subscriptions during that period. Exetel is the most recent provider to release its mobile broadband (HSPDA) plans on the Optus network, joining the growing number of providers including Bigpond, iPrimus, Dodo and Optus who already offer wireless broadband plans to compatible customers.

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics 2008.