The Australian Bureau of Statistics has released figures for November 1998 showing that while the number of households connecting to the Internet has increased by 49 per cent since last February, online transactions such as bill paying and shopping remain low.
Results from the ABS survey announced this week found 19 per cent (an estimated 1,272,000) of all Australian households had Net access; with 31 per cent of Australia's total adult population, or 4.2 million people, having accessed the Net in the 12 months to November 1998.
In this period, only 7 per cent of adults who accessed the Net (2 per cent of the whole adult population) used it for shopping.
The figures also showed that between September and November 1998, less than 1 per cent of Australian adults used the Internet to pay bills or transfer funds; negligible compared to the 4.8 million adults who used the telephone, 8.2 million who used EFTPOS or 9.3 million who used an ATM for similar transactions.
With work being the most frequent site of Internet access (1.9 million people) by November 1998, 5 per cent of all employed adults could access an employer's computer from home through a modem; resulting in a 128 per cent increase in the number of people with teleworking agreements with their employer from the February 1998 estimate of 137,000 people.