OECD stats: Australian wireless broadband numbers eclipse fixed-line services

OECD stats: Australian wireless broadband numbers eclipse fixed-line services

Wireless broadband subscription numbers in Australia now double that of fixed-line broadband as world figures leap

Wireless broadband subscription numbers in Australia are now double that of fixed-line broadband, according to statistics released by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

OECD is based in France and counts 34 countries as members.

Total wireless broadband connection numbers at the end of December 2010 was 12,561,000, putting the Australia in 14th place in terms of country with the highest number of active wireless services. This counts fixed-wireless, standard mobile and dedicated mobile data subscriptions.

Fixed-line broadband services recorded 5,385,000, with Australia in 14th place in that category. Broken down on a subscription per 100 people basis, 20 connections were through ADSL, four were on cable and one was on fibre-based Internet.

Growth in fixed services have been sluggish around the world.

First place for both wireless and fixed-line went to the USA with 165,395,000 and 85,723,155 subscriptions in the respective technologies.

These statistics were Government-supplied. Subscription numbers reflects the amount of services that have been taken up and not the number of individuals that have taken up the services.

The difference between wireless and fixed-line broadband numbers is hardly surprising as the ADSL market has been noted as close to saturation point. Meanwhile, the proliferation of devices such as tablets and smartphones has driven up rapidly demand for wireless broadband and mobile data.

Analysts have foreshadowed more consolidation in the ISP market as opportunities in garnering more ADSL subscriber numbers become increasingly scarce.

iiNet has been a master of growth through acquisition, snapping up smaller ISP players such as Westnet and Netspace. Last year, the Perth-ISP also took over AAPT’s consumer business.

Overall, Wireless broadband subscriptions in OECD countries exceeded half a billion (512 million) by the end of 2010, an increase of more than 10 per cent on June 2010, according to new OECD statistics.

Korea is the leading country for wireless broadband subscriptions, with 89.8 per 100 inhabitants, followed by Finland (84.8), Sweden (82.9) and Norway (79.9). This compares to an OECD average of 41.6 and a total of just under 512 million.

Fixed broadband subscriptions reached 300 million for the first time, but growth slowed to 6 per cent year-on-year, the lowest growth rate since the OECD started collecting broadband statistics just over a decade ago. This reflects higher broadband penetration and market saturation in some countries.

On a per inhabitant basis (aka penetration), the Netherlands and Switzerland led the table, with 38.1 subscriptions per 100 inhabitants, followed by Denmark (37.7) and Norway (34.6). Fibre subscriptions continue to grow and account for 12.3 per cent of all fixed broadband connections.

In other figures released by the OECD: DSL is still the most widely used technology (57.6 per cent), followed by cable (29.4 per cent). Leading countries in fibre are Japan (58 per cent), Korea (55 per cent), Slovak Republic (29 per cent) and Sweden (26 per cent).

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