Australia's Appetite For Fast Broadband Increases

A recently published report from Australia's Bureau of Statistics indicates there were 12.9 million internet subscribers across the nation at the end of December 2015, with almost all of those connections being broadband.

The 12.9 million subscribers represents more than half of the entire Australian population and subscriptions had grown 2% since the end of December 2014. There were just 93,000 subscribers still on dial-up connections at the end of last year.

Here's how the numbers stack up in terms of types of broadband connections (December 2015).

  • DSL - 5, 030,000
  • Cable - 1, 004,000
  • Fibre to the premises (FTTP) - 645,000
  • Satellite - not available for publication
  • Fixed wireless - 84,000
  • Mobile wireless - 6, 025,000

The figures were sourced from Internet Service Providers (ISPs) with more than 1,000 subscribers. There were 62 reporting ISPs with more than 1,000 subscribers operating in Australia in December 2015. This is a substantial drop over the last year; perhaps in part due to mergers and takeovers.

Not all broadband is equal as the ABS data clearly indicates. 75,000 Australian  subscribers were saddled with snail-pace plans offering less than 256kbps. 18,000 subscribers were on very slow plans offering between just 256kbps to 1.5Mbps. A whopping 2,183,000 are on plans offering only a barely adequate 1.5Mbps to less than 8Mbps.

These figures just relate to download speeds - upload rates are often far lower.

ABS reports 10, 570,000 were surfing the web on plans with an advertised connection speed of 8Mbps or greater. The variation between these "fast broadband" plans would have been interesting to see as even 8Mbps is considered quite slow these days in some countries.

Lightning Broadband's entry level residential broadband plan offers a speed of 25Mbps and its commercial broadband plans offer up to a blistering-fast 1,000Mbps  - and that's both on upload and download.

Given the appetite for data driven by video and other bandwidth-intensive applications; faster broadband is moving from the realm of being desirable to an absolutely gotta-have.

Broadband in Australia - data consumption

The total volume of data downloaded for fixed line and wireless in the three months ended 31 December 2015 was more than 1.71 million Terabytes (or 1.7 Exabytes). This represents an increase in data downloads of around 49% when compared with the same period in 2014.

Source & image source: 8153.0 - Internet Activity, Australia, December 2015 - Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Posted: 10 Apr 2016

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