Australia has slipped from 18th to 21st in the latest Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) rankings for fixed-broadband services, while wireless percentages continue to soar.
The six-monthly rank of 34 OECD countries to June 2011, published last week, reveals that while Australia's fixed-broadband penetration increased from 23.4 per cent in June 2010 to 24 per cent to the end of June in 2011, with a total of 5.4 million fixed-line customers. DSL subscribers make up 19.9 per cent, while cable makes up 3.9 per cent and fibre/LAN makes up 0.1 per cent.
After slipping behind New Zealand in the last round of stats, Australia has now also fallen behind Austria, Israel and Estonia, bringing it behind the OECD average of 25 per cent fixed-broadband penetration.
However, Australia's penetration for wireless broadband has continued to grow, increasing from 47.1 per cent to 64.8 per cent in the last year. This represents a substantial increase; 10.3 million subscribers in June 2010 to 14.6 million subscribers in June 2011. The increase places Australia 8th on the list for wireless-broadband penetration, just behind the United States, at 65.5 per cent.
The slip in fixed-broadband penetration will make it tougher for the government to meet its goal of raising Australia into the top five by 2020 as part of the National Digital Economy Strategy unveiled by Communications Minister Stephen Conroy in May this year.
The office of the communications minister was not immediately available for comment at the time of writing.
It wasn't all bad news for fixed broadband, however, with the OECD noting that while DSL and cable subscriptions remained stable, there was a marked growth in fibre subscriptions of 3.5 per cent in the last six months, so that those with fibre now represent a total of 13 per cent of broadband subscriptions.
Broadly, the OECD stats reflected a slowing uptake of fixed-broadband services, and a massive increase in wireless subscribers, with growth in fixed-broadband subscriptions sitting at 5.38 per cent year on year, while wireless subscriptions grew by 26 per cent in the same period.
The Netherlands maintained the top position in the fixed-broadband rankings, with 38.5 per cent penetration, while Turkey kept its last place with 10 per cent. While Korea has the most customers on a fixed-fibre connection, it also takes out the top position on the OECD rankings for wireless penetration at 99.3 per cent.