ACCC conducts broadband review

ACCC conducts broadband review

In response to increasing interest in broadband technology, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has aggregated data from 10 major carriers of broadband services to create a report on the deployment of broadband services throughout Australia as of March 31, 2002.

The report includes aggregated data in relation to the geographic availability of broadband services and gives estimated broadband customer figures in respect of cable, satellite, ADSL, xDSL and miscellaneous offerings.

The ACCC report recorded 105 per cent growth in take-up of broadband services in Australia in the nine months to March. While this growth is significant, the report found that overall use of broadband services still remains low.

"The report shows that as at the end of March 2002, there were 251,500 broadband services connected across Australia," said ACCC chairman Allan Fels. "This is double the amount of connections recorded at the end of July 2001."

According to the report, the take-up of digital subscriber line (DSL) technology significantly exceeded the take-up of cable technologies, with the number of subscribers for DSL services increasing by 206 per cent compared to 71 per cent for cable. However, the number of cable services subscribers (157,800) still significantly exceeds the number of DSL services subscribers (85,800).

The take-up of broadband services by business customers increased by 72 per cent over the nine months, to 44,400 subscribers. Unlike the residential sector, asymmetric DSL (ADSL) services proved the most popular option for business customers, with 28,500 subscribers signed up for the service by March.

Broadband service take-up in the residential sector increased 70 per cent. Despite a recent reduction in the wholesale price of ADSL, the report indicates that cable broadband services are still the most popular option for residential customers, with 146,800 subscribers compared to 41,000 for DSL broadband services.

"The ACCC will continue to monitor this market, looking closely at any behaviour by those with market power to stifle competition through high prices or by holding back access to new services," said Fels.

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