The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is reporting record levels of Internet users getting online with social media like Facebook becoming a driving force.
According to ACMA’s report, Australia in the digital economy: The shift to the online environment, the percentage of Australia who have ever used the Internet rose from 88 per cent in June 2009 to 89 per cent in June 2010.
The proportion of the population with a broadband connection at home increased by 3 per cent to 66 per cent in the same period while the number of Internet users that spend more than 15 hours online each week rose by 2 per cent to 28 per cent.
“Over the past five years, the proportion of heavy Internet users…in the Australian population has doubled,” the report said. “27 per cent were medium Internet users going online between seven and 15 hours a week, while 23 per cent were light Internet users.
“22 per cent of the Australian population aged 14 years and over were estimated to have spent no time online…significantly less than the 33 per cent reported at June 2005.”
The report used Australian Bureau of Statistics data to highlight an increase in mobile Internet users. But it also claimed social media sites like YouTube and Facebook were pushing more Aussies online for longer.
“During June 2010, 8.7 million Australians access main stream social networking…sites such as Facebook and Youtube from home, spending in total more than 41.5 million hours on these sites,” the report said. “Facebook continued to maintain its dominance…accounting for 81 per cent of time spent on social networking sites and 82 per cent of web pages viewed.”
But ACMA also reported that only 10 per cent of small to medium enterprises (SMEs) that were connected to the Internet used social network channels for business. It also said 1 per cent of online SMEs did not have broadband connections.
“At June 2010…64 per cent of SMEs reported utilising Internet-enable 3G mobile phones, while 26 per cent used a VoIP service,” it said. “61 per cent of SMEs in Australia were estimated to have a Website…compared to 56 per cent in June 2009.”