Broadband take-up climbs
27 July 2004
The use of broadband by Australians continues to grow rapidly according to two new reports-the Snapshot of Broadband Deployment released by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) yesterday and the Internet Activity Survey released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) last Friday.
The ABS reported that the number of non dial-up subscribers grew from 690,000 at the end of the September quarter 2003 to 861,000 at the end of the March quarter 2004, an increase of 171,000 (or 25 per cent) reflecting the continuing move toward these technologies.
Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) subscriber numbers showed the fastest growth from 372,000 in the September quarter 2003 to 512,000 in the March quarter 2004, an increase of 140,000 (38 per cent).
These growth rates are confirmed by the report of the ACCC on broadband take-up.
"By encouraging and supporting competition in the supply of telecommunications the Government has improved access to broadband and has positively influenced take-up rates," the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan said.
"Recent investments from Internet service providers such as Telstra, Optus, Unwired, Primus and iiNet also bode well for ongoing competition in the broadband market and benefits for consumers."
As a demonstration of strong competition in the delivery of internet services the ABS survey found that there were 694 ISPs supplying Internet access to 5.2 million active subscribers at the end of the March quarter 2004 - an increase in 27 ISPs (up 4%) from September 2003.
Take-up is also being fostered by the Australian Government under the National Broadband Strategy, which includes significant targeted funding programs including the $107.8 million Higher Bandwidth Incentive Scheme (HiBIS) and the $23.7 million Coordinated Communications Infrastructure Fund.
"With the first registrations of ISPs under HiBIS, we can expect the uptake of broadband in regional and rural Australia to increase markedly.
"The use of broadband across the economy has great potential to increase the productivity of Australian business and to improve the delivery of essential services such as health and education," Senator Coonan said.
More importantly for the economy - the strongest take-up is being seen in the small business sector. In the latest Pacific Internet Broadband Barometer released last week, ACNielsen Consult reported that of those small businesses with an Internet connection, more than 52% are on broadband connections. This has more than doubled from 23% two years ago.
Media Contact: Jane McMillan 0438 690 305