Australia on brink of a broadband boom

Australia is about to undergo a long overdue broadband boom, according to an industry report to be released later this month.Telecommunications industry analyst firm Ovum forecasts consumer broadband penetration in Australia will reach 3.

Australia is about to undergo a long overdue broadband boom, according to an industry report to be released later this month.

Telecommunications industry analyst firm Ovum forecasts consumer broadband penetration in Australia will reach 3.3 million connections by 2008, an increase over current figures of nearly 400 percent or 60 percent of all residential Internet access.

Ovum currently estimates that broadband connections make-up 20 percent of the 4.3 million Internet connections currently used by Australian consumers each year.

OECD statistics, published in June last year showed that Australia ranked 21st in terms of broadband penetration per head of population, well behind some of our less developed neighbours. However, Ovum today said Australian broadband was finally in take-off mode.

"The growth in broadband take up is long overdue. Stifled by price and availability, Australia has trailed many other developed countries," said a spokesperson for Ovum.

Ovum said the rapid uptake was being driven increased competition in the broadband sector.

Ovum analyst Daniel Swift said that DSL prices broke a psychological barrier among consumers when they fell below AU$29.95 earlier this year. As DSL prices began to approach those of dial-up connections, consumers ceased to think of them as beyond their means.

Accordingly, Ovum is forecasting that DSL will be the most common form of broadband access used by Australians accounting for around 60 percent. However there were also hints today that the final report -- Wireless Broadband in Australia -- may contain surprising forecasts about wireless Internet access.

Business Internet access is also expected to under go rapid growth throughout the next three years according to Ovum, doubling from 317,000 connections to 661,000 by 2008.

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