Households use more data with NBN: study

Households twice as likely to work from home and have a greater number of connected devices
Brunswick NBN rollout in 2010: More than 40 pits were completed before the tagging idea became standard practice so each and every one was being re-opened in two man operations.

Brunswick NBN rollout in 2010: More than 40 pits were completed before the tagging idea became standard practice so each and every one was being re-opened in two man operations.

Households that have switched to an NBN service download more data than they did before, according to a study by the University of Melbourne and Swinburne University.

About 62 per cent of households that switched to NBN reported an increase in the volume of their home Internet use.

The study, funded by the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) under the 2011 Round of the ACCAN Grants Scheme, examined the takeup, use and implications of high-speed broadband of 282 households in Brunswick, Victoria, one of the first areas to receive the NBN.

NBN-enabled households were twice as likely to work from home and had a greater number of connected devices than they did previously, the report identified.

Teleworkers constituted 30 per cent in NBN enabled households, as compared to 15 per cent in non-NBN households. In addition, 30 per cent of households increased the number of devices owned with NBN connection, while only 20 per cent of other homes had more devices.

“The thing that people say they like most about the NBN is the speed and the data capacity. We’re not too surprised to hear this – right around Australia people are telling us they want access to reliable, quality broadband at an affordable price,” ACCAN spokeswoman, Elise Davidson, said.

About 49 per cent of those with an NBN service said there was no real impact on the price they paid for an Internet service, with 37 per cent of them paying more, and 14 per cent paying less for NBN-enabled services.

For those who saw increased costs, the rise was often accompanied by increased Internet speeds, whilst for those whose costs decreased it was due to a substitution of landline telephone for a VoIP telephone service, in which the cost of data and voice were bundled in a single service plan.

“The research indicates people are willing to pay a bit more to get high-speed Internet and larger download allowances. For others, their monthly costs went down because they were able to switch from a landline phone service to VoIP,” Davidson said.

Other findings from the study include:

  • About 82 per cent of surveyed households agreed that the NBN is a good idea.

  • Reasons for support of the NBN include an infrastructure for all Australians (14 per cent), beneficial for the future (11 per cent), improve national productivity (eight per cent), help maintain global competitiveness(six per cent), connecting rural Australia (five per cent) and keeping up to date with developments in technology and innovation (five per cent).

  • NBN-enabled households were more likely to be guided by Internet speed in their decision, making about retail or Internet service plans (29 per cent compared to 10 per cent of non‐NBN connected homes), whereas non‐NBN connected households emphasised the importance of price (24 per cent, compared to nine per cent of NBN‐connected households).

  • Between 2011 and 2012 the number of households in the Brunswick site that had an active NBN connection rose from 20 per cent to 36 per cent.

  • Early adopters of the NBN were much more likely to be home‐owners(63 per cent) rather than renters; and households with children (59 per cent )rather than couples, shared or single households.