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Mobile downloads tiny against fixed line in final ABS Internet Activity report


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(Image: ABS)

While the number of Australian subscribers on both broadband and mobile connections rises steadily by single digits, the amount of data downloaded continues to increase by an order of magnitude more.

In its final Internet Activity report before the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) takes over, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said data downloaded over mobile handsets had increased from 175 petabytes in the three months to June 2017 to 247 petabytes in the three months to June 2018, a 41 percent rise.

Across the same period of time, data on fixed-line broadband grew by 28 percent to 3.7 exabytes by June 2018. This means mobile handset data accounts for a mere 6.6 percent of that used by fixed line.

In April 2015, mobile handset data made up 4 percent of total data downloaded.

Meanwhile, data over wireless connections — which includes satellite, fixed-wireless, mobile dongles, and tablet SIM cards — grew by 48 percent to 123 petabytes as of June 2018.

The ABS also called out the shifting makeup of Australian broadband technology, with a million DSL users disappearing in the year to June 2018, and fibre seeing an extra 1.5 million users to 3.6 million. Mobile wireless saw an extra 450,000 connections, while hybrid fibre-coaxial cable connections dropped by 73,000 over the same time period.

Overall, almost 1 million more broadband connections where added across the nation, growing by 3.6 percent to 14.7 million in total.

For mobile handsets, the number of subscribers grew by 1.1 percent to 27 million.

The ABS Internet Activity report was previously run twice a year, and covers internet subscribers as at the end of June and December, capturing a snapshot of the download activity in the three months from April to June, and again from October to December.

In October 2016, the ABS said it was looking at chopping some of its lower-priority reports to see if others could take over due to the agency suffering under funding cuts.

The ACCC is hardly a neophyte in terms of collecting internet-related data. The commission already produces its NBN speed-monitoring report, as well as its NBN Wholesale Market Indicators Report.

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