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Australians ease off broadband above 24Mbps: ABS

While Australians continue to download increasing amounts of data, the number of people using broadband quicker than 24Mbps has stalled, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

As the National Broadband Network (NBN) continues its ponderous rollout across the country, the number of Australians on a connection that is advertised as being quicker than 24Mbps has fallen, according to the latest instalment of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Internet Activity report.

For the three months to June 30, the ABS said that there were 53,000 fewer subscribers for internet connections on the fastest connection band than at the end of 2013, falling to 2,030,000 from 2,088,000. Overall, the number of internet subscribers continued to increase, with the 8Mbps to less than 24Mbps band being the only one to see growth over the period, rising to 6.25 million internet connections from 5.6 million at December 31.

The ABS told ZDNet that there was no change in the reports methodology, and no inclusion of a margin of error, as the data is not a sample, but rather a collection of data from ISPs with more than 1,000 customers. This edition of the report had a 97 percent response rate.

Looking at the connection type of the 12.5 million internet subscribers that the ABS reported, total subscriber numbers dropped for dial-up, satellite, and mobile wireless. Fibre connections jumped from 167,000 to 203,000, while DSL posted modest growth to now have more than 5 million connections on the technology, and cable inched forward with 946,000 connections.

Elsewhere in the report, the ABS said that in the three months to June 30, Australians fell just short of downloading 1 exabyte, or 1 million terabytes, of data from fixed-line connections. This continued a trend observed over recent instalments of the report where fixed line continues to dominate the amount and percentage of data downloaded.

The amount of data downloaded grew 53 percent since the same time last year, up to 963,429TB from 629,964TB, and 17 percent on the December 31 number of 823,421TB.

Data downloaded on fixed-wireless connections fell from 37,426TB at the end of last year to 32,731TB.

On mobile handsets, the data volume continued to grow, with mobile now outpacing fixed wireless. 38,734TB was downloaded, up 40 percent since December 31. The ABS said that given 20.6 million mobile handset subscribers are now active across the country, this averaged out to 0.6GB of data downloaded per subscriber per month.

"Exactly five years ago, for the three months ended June 2009, we were just about to hit 100,000 terabytes of downloads, so today's result makes a tenfold increase in just five years," said ABS assistant director Lesley Martin.

"The increase reflects the dominance of broadband, Australia's continuing appetite for the internet, and particularly the swing towards higher download speeds."

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