ABS: Wireless broadband continues to boom, but downloads drop

Almost 10 million Internet subscribers are currently online with wireless up 21.7 per cent.

ABS Internet usage

ABS Internet usage

Wireless Internet user numbers continued to boom and reached 3,455,000 subscribers by June 2010, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). But the amount those subscribers dropped as users change to cheaper plans.

The statistics were released as part of the ABS’ Internet activity summary for all ISPs in Australia. A total of 9.6 million Internet subscribers are on the Net as of June 2010, with 71 per cent using connections with download speeds of 1.5Mbps or more.

The study also said the number of mobile wireless connections rose sharply by 21.7 per cent from 2,838,000 in the quarter ending December 2009 to 3,455,000 in the quarter ending June 2010.

It claimed the overall amount of data downloaded by users rose from 127,954TB to 155,503TB in the same period with most of it coming from broadband users.

But despite the rise in wireless users, the amount downloaded by them bucked the trend and actually dropped by more than 6 per cent to 13,330TB.

An ABS spokesperson said the apparent contradiction is because more wireless broadband users are switching plans to cheaper varieties with lower download caps.

Fixed line broadband was responsible for most of the bandwidth and rose from 113,410TB to 141,892TB from the December 2009 to June 2010 quarters. Although DSL connections increased to 4,246,000, its market share dropped from 47 to 44 per cent in the same period.

Dial-up connections fell from 1,087,000 to 801,000 in the year to June 2010 while the amount of data downloaded by dial-up users almost halved from 466TB to 280TB per quarter in the same period.

The Alliance for Affordable Broadband has recently advocated for more use of wireless broadband in the National Broadband Network.

But a spokesperson for the Communications Minister, Senator Stephen Conroy, reiterated his argument against increasing the importance of wireless broadband.

"In terms of the argument that wireless will obviate the need for fibre, the Implementation Study puts this argument to rest once and for all. The Study confirms fibre to the premise is widely accepted as the optimal future-proof technology," the spokesperson said in a statement.

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Tags ABSnational broadband networkwirelessinternet usageSenator Stephen ConroyCommunications MinisterAustralian Bureau of StatisticsAlliance for Affordable Broadbandbroadband

More about ABS AustraliaAustralian Bureau of Statisticsetwork

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