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Data use in Australia explodes by 43%  in past year: ACMA Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net Featured

The amount of data Australians are consuming has gone through the roof, rising by 43% in the past year, according to a new report tabled in Parliament today. We’re also using a more diverse range of devices, although the mobile phone is still the most popular and frequently used way to go online.

The explosion in data usage by Aussies is detailed in a new report from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) released on Friday..

According to the ACMA, Australians' demand for online content and services continues to climb "unabated, reshaping the communications industry in new ways".

"We are downloading, consuming and creating more data and content than ever before. We are also communicating in ways that we couldn’t have predicted a decade — or even five years — ago," said ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin.

The ACMA report reveals that Australians downloaded more than 3.1 million terabytes in the June 2017 quarter, up 43% on the corresponding period last year, while 92% of all data in the quarter was downloaded over fixed-line broadband.

And, fixed-line broadband also contributed to more than 90% of the download growth.

acma chart

"Where demand leads, investment follows. Mobile operators, for example, announced plans for billion-dollar improvements to Australia’s 4G network in 2016–17, paving the way for more data-intensive activities over mobile," O’Loughlin added.

Key insights from the report:

  •     An overwhelming majority of Australian adults (89%) access the Internet – climbing to 100% among those aged 18–34.
  •     The mobile phone is the most popular and frequently used device for Internet access.
  •     Consumers are diversifying their use of connected devices, with smart TVs becoming an increasingly popular way to go online.
  •     Seventy percent of Australians are using five or more separate communications services for personal purposes.
  •     The shift to mobile phone-only for communication continues, with 6.67 million Australian adults having a mobile phone and no fixed-line telephone at home.
  •     Fifty-nine percent of Australians watched content online as of June 2017.
  •     Premises activated over the NBN were up 122% to 2.443 million in the 12 months to June 2017. (As of 23 November, 3.248 million premises had been activated, a further increase of almost 33% since June.)
  •     Mobile services in operation (voice and data) stood at 33.64 million in June 2017, up by 3% on June 2016.
  •     Mobile phone operators reported 4G network coverage in the range of 96–99% of the population.

"Since 2005, the ACMA communications report has provided an annual snapshot of the rapidly changing communications sector," O’Loughlin said.

"It provides important insights into a sector that increasingly underpins Australia’s economic growth and prosperity."


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).


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