According to a recent Research and Markets Report there are roughly 200 Internet Service Providers in Australia. Despite this large number of providers, the market is still dominated by a small number of service providers.
In Australia the broadband internet market is firmly dominated by Telstra Bigpond which is responsible for 45% of broadband internet services in this country. Telstra Bigpond has nearly four times as many internet subscribers as its closest rival, Optus.

Optus currently provides 11% of Australian broadband subscriptions. Although this is not a very high percentage it represents the second biggest share of the Australian internet market.

Following Optus the next biggest internet service provider in Australia are iiNet, TPG and iPrimus. Each of these providers are responsible for about 5% of broadband internet services to Australian homes.

The remaining 30% of the broadband internet market is shared between the remaining 180 small and medium sized broadband internet providers. 

2009 saw several large mergers in the Australian Internet Service provider retail market. The most notable of these was the merger between iiNet and Westnet as well as the merger between TPG, Soul and Chariot Internet. The margin of smaller internet providers allows them to compete with the bigger players in the market more easily. For example, the merger between TPG and Soul communication will mean TPG can now offer competitive home phone plans as well as bundled internet deals. Previously, for TPG ADSL or ADSL2+ service a TPG customer was still required to subscribe to a home phone service with another provider, usually Telstra.

Another major merger in 2009 occurred with Three and Vodafone. By merging the two mobile broadband providers, the companies can compete with the larger mobile broadband providers like Telstra Bigpond and Optus. This is good news for Australian Mobile Broadband subscribers as it will ultimately result in more investment in infrastructure, better mobile broadband coverage and more competitive deals.

The merger of ADSL, ADSL2+ and Naked DSL broadband providers, such as the merger between Westnet and iiNet will also result in increased investment in infrastructure and the spread of ADS2+ technology. However the decision to invest in the upgrade of more exchanges to ADSL2+ and Naked capability will depend on the future of the National Broadband Network rollout.

With a proposed 100MB Fibre to the home network to be built by the federal government over the next 8 years, many internet service providers will be hesitant to invest in ADSL2+ infrastructure that will become obsolete once the National Broadband network is built.

However, considering the national broadband network is still 8 years away in many areas Internet Service providers will continue to provide fast and cheap ADSL2+ services to eligible customers meaning there has never been a  better time to upgrade to a broadband internet connection.

You can browse ADSL, ADSL2+, Naked DSL, Cable and Mobile Broadband plans from the major Australian internet service providers right here on Compare Broadband.