Australians Still Data Hungry – Broadband Appetite Won’t Be Satiated

Australians Still Data Hungry – Broadband Appetite Won’t Be Satiated

A report released by the ACCC this week shows the data consumption of Australians is continuing to increase.

The ACCC’s Communications Market Report for 2018-19 indicates a 47% jump in data downloads compared to the previous year, with fixed broadband services making up 88 per cent of all data used.

ACCC communications report

The report also show a big increase in the number of fixed broadband plans offering unlimited data – 57% in 2018-19 compared to 40% in 2017–18 and just 6% in 2014–15.

“A jump to more than half of all plans offering unlimited plans in just five years really is a sign of the times,” commented ACCC Chair Rod Sims.

In spite of an extended period of strong growth, the ACCC says forecasts project continuing growth in data consumption over the coming years. This is being driven by the rapid uptake of streaming services such as Netflix.

Fixed wireless is included in the ACCC’s analysis of fixed broadband services given the functional similarity between it and other fixed access technologies. On that note, while Australians with NBN services outnumber those with non-NBN fixed services, the report states a “small but significant proportion” of non-NBN services in operation (SIO) are on alternative fibre, fixed wireless broadband and satellite networks.

Another interesting snippet from the report was the fact the number of minutes spent using traditional voice services on mobile phones dropped the first time over the year – from 67 billion minutes to 64 billion minutes, reflecting the increasing use of social media and services such as Facebook Messenger. However, 64 billion minutes is still a lot – it works out to 121,765 years!

Keeping An Eye On The NBN

Even though the NBN rollout is in its final stages, Mr. Sims says the ACCC is still committed to ensuring Australians get value from it.

“In particular, we are keen to ensure that NBN Co and retail service providers have incentives to upgrade and fix infrastructure where it is not meeting consumers’ needs and expectations,” he said.

A particularly problematic technology is the much maligned Fibre-To-The-Node (FTTN). Earlier this month it was reported NBN Co had upgraded 3000 premises that were originally assigned FTTN to full fibre. These were some of the many premises on FTTN that weren’t achieving peak speeds of 25Mbps, the government’s minimum requirement.

The full The ACCC Communications Market Report for 2018-19 can be accessed here.

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