Despite the surging popularity of wireless Internet, fixed-line broadband services continue to grow, according to a report by the Australia Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
In a report titled The Internet service market and Australians in the online environment, ACMA noted as of December 2010 there were 10.4 million active Internet subscribers in the country on fixed-line and mobile wireless services, a 17 per cent increase year-on-year.
Wireless broadband subscribers experienced a 49 per cent growth from December 2009-2010 to 4.23 million.
But it has not stymied the growth of fixed-line services with ADSL subscriber numbers jumping seven percent to 4.46 million in during the same period.
“Fixed-line Internet services continue to play a central role in driving the digital economy, accounting for the majority of data downloads in Australia,” ACMA said in the report.
It is worth pointing out the ADSL market is close to saturation point and growth in that areas will inevitably be sluggish.
On a side note, there are still 707,000 subscribers using dial-up Internet. But that number has decreased by 21 per cent since December 2009.
A total of 191,839 terabytes were downloaded by Australians in the fourth quarter of 2010. Fixed-line accounted for 91 per cent of that while wireless made up a meagre 8.86 per cent.
The rest was attributed to mobile handset downloads although it is worth noting that number grew by 462 per cent in the six months to December 2010.
On average, each Internet subscriber downloaded 18.8GB of data during the December quarter of 2010.
Last year, ISPs rushed to introduce 1TB broadband plans to the market. At the time, some analyst questioned whether this would appeal to many consumers. Looks like Australians do have a huge appetite for data.
Australians are also demanding higher download speeds as they opt to consume entertainment content online. Around 70 per cent of subscribers opted to move to an Internet services offering more than 8Mbps download speeds.
That’s figure has now grown to 3.75 million. Despite still being outnumbered by subscribers on services with less than 8Mbps download speeds, the trend is clearly in favour of faster broadband.
Shadow Communications Minister had argued wireless is a more viable technology to use than fixed-line fibre for the National Broadband Network (NBN) and that Australians don’t require super-fast broadband.
No doubt this report will be used as ammunition by the Federal Government to further discredit these claims.