Data consumption continued to climb rapidly over 2017-18 according to a new report from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
The ACCC’s communications market report for 2017-18 was released yesterday and indicates the total volume of data downloaded by Australians jumped by 29 per cent between the June 2017 and 2018 quarters.
Data downloaded by mobile handsets was up 45 per cent, compared to fixed broadband at 27 per cent. However, fixed access broadband connections continue to chew through the lion’s share of overall data downloaded at 91 per cent.
In this era of Netflix and other data intensive applications, a data cap on plans doesn’t make a lot of sense; particularly for fixed broadband connections. It appears an increasing number of ISPs are offering unlimited broadband plans, jumping from 24 per cent to 40 per cent. Just five years ago the number was only 5%.
On the mobile front, more operators may still have limits, but after that limit is reached speeds are reduced instead of cutting the customer off entirely.
“Both of these trends show providers are following the international experience, where especially for fixed broadband, unlimited plans tend to be the norm,” states the report.
NBN Speeds Better, But..
The report also praises improvements in fixed broadband speeds on the NBN – generally
Fixed broadband includes technologies such as fixed wireless internet access – a technology that has really come of age. However, NBN Co has been struggling with it in some areas.
“.. a material number of fixed wireless services are experiencing significant congestion during busy hours (less than 6 Mbps on average) and a material number of fixed line connections do not deliver the full speed of the consumer’s chosen plan at any time.”
The ACCC says this required NBN Co to commit to investing significant sums to upgrade its fixed wireless network, and also trialling new processes to address factors impeding service quality among affected fixed broadband customers.
Commission Chair Rod Sims was generally upbeat about broadband in Australia.
“We do have concerns, however, that not all consumers have experienced improvements, or will continue to do so in the future, which is why we are continuing our review of NBN appointment, connection and repair commitments,” Mr Sims said.
The ACCC’s full communications market report for 2017-18 can be downloaded here.