Aussie firms snap up broadband to earn AU$57bn

A greater proportion of Australian firms are doing business on the Internet than ever before, according to results released last week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

A greater proportion of Australian firms are doing business on the Internet than ever before, according to results released last week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The Internet is being used by 81.3 percent of Australian companies, according to the 2005-2006 business characteristics survey, which reports on key indicators of computer use, Internet access, Web presence and Internet commerce. The figure represents a 4.5 percent increase when compared to the previous year's numbers, and a 10 percent rise since the 2002-2003 survey.

While business Internet use grows, the number of businesses using computers has reached a plateau at 88.8 percent, which is only a 0.2 percent increase compared to last year.

Business broadband connections have doubled over the past two years from 41.5 percent to 82.5 percent.

Thirty-eight percent of businesses that used the Internet but did not have a broadband connection stated the reason they did not take up a fast connection was because it was unavailable in their area.

The number of businesses relying on some form of Web presence has also grown, with 29.8 percent reporting that they either have their own dedicated Web site or a presence on another Web site -- an increase from 26.7 percent the year before.

Although Web presence has only had a moderate increase, businesses are finding the Internet more lucrative, with the amount of companies receiving orders from the Internet increasing dramatically, jumping from 12.2 to 20.9 percent year-on-year. The report shows 37.3 percent of businesses now order goods and services over the Internet, up from 32.7 percent the year before.

Australia's total Internet income for 2005-2006 was AU$56.7 billion, a growth of 40 percent over the previous year, the ABS said.

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