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Australians are going over the top

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Key insights into Australia’s rapidly changing communications and media market are contained in the ACMA Communications report 2014–15, which was tabled in federal parliament today.

‘Australians are increasingly using the internet for more of their daily activities,’ said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman.

New Australian Communications and Media Authority research shows that Australians are increasingly using over-the-top (OTT) communications services, including online subscription video services.

OTT service expansion continues apace, with the continued take-up of OTT communications services—such as Skype, Facebook Messenger and Facetime—compounded by the popularity of OTT content services, as seen with the recent launch of streaming services Netflix Australia, Stan and Presto.

Traditional free-to-air and subscription television continues to dominate Australians’ content viewing, but this year 34 per cent of Australian adults also watched online television or online professionally-produced video content in a given week.

‘Increased investment in communications infrastructure and ongoing innovation in the communication services and online video markets mean that consumers are able to access more services online than ever before, wherever they are, and the ACMA’s research shows they are taking advantage of this,’ Mr Chapman said.

Australians continue to look to OTT services for their communications. More than half (54 per cent) of online Australians aged 18 and over used an app to communicate with others online, with 49 per cent sending messages, 28 per cent making voice calls and 25 per cent making video calls.

The communications industry’s ongoing infrastructure investment continues to support this internet-enabled communications environment. More than 90 per cent of Australians can now access 4G mobile networks across the country. The rollout of the national broadband network (nbn) is moving ahead, with the switch-off of the existing copper network starting in 2014 in the nbn fibre footprint areas, and two companies announcing that they will cease to offer dial-up internet services in 2016.

Mobile services and use of mobile devices have continued the overall growth trends seen in the last five years. Mobile services (voice and data) in operation has increased to 31.77 million services (up almost three percent on the previous year), with increases occurring in machine to machine services in particular.

Now, almost 80 per cent of online adult Australians are accessing the internet over their mobile phone (up from 76 per cent last year) and 58 per cent are going online over tablet computers (up from 54 per cent). The number of fixed-line telephone connections continues to decline (by one per cent) to 9.08 million services.

The report also shows a significant majority of Australians continue to be generally satisfied with their communications services. Eighty-nine per cent of adults are satisfied or very satisfied with their fixed-line telephone services; 88 per cent with their mobile phones; and 81 per cent with their internet service.

Communications report ‘Fast Facts’ are available below. A summary video is available here.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact: Emma Rossi, Media Manager, (02) 9334 7719, 0434 652 063 or media@acma.gov.au.

Media release 61/2015 - 2 December

ACMA Communications report 2014–15—‘Fast facts’

The ACMA Communications report 2014–15 confirms that Australians are engaging more deeply online through using multiple devices, performing a greater number of activities and going online more often.

Over-the-top (OTT) services

Over-the-top (OTT) communications are those delivered by an application that is run over-the-top of another carriage service, and can be accessed using any compatible internet access device. Common examples of OTT services are mobile phone or computer apps that provide messaging (for example, Facebook Messenger, iMessage), voice call services (for example, Skype, Facetime), and video or audio services not provided by the phone or internet provider (for example, Netflix, YouTube channels, Pandora and Spotify).

  • 53 per cent of adult Australians (9.62 million people) watched professional online video content in the last six months at June 2015.
  • 34 per cent of Australian adults watched online television or online professionally-produced video content in a given week (at June 2015).
  • 11 per cent of Australian adults watched Netflix Australia in a given week, as at June 2015.
  • 4.9 million adult Australians accessed a VoIP service at June 2015.
  • 65 per cent of adult Australians used social networking and 42 per cent instant messaging, both increasing by four percentage points.

Downloading and streaming

  • Australians downloaded 1,460,269 terabytes of data in the June quarter 2015—a 41 per cent increase on the June quarter 2014.
  • The average mobile phone internet user downloaded 3.4 GB of data in the quarter ending June 2015, compared to 207 GB for the average fixed-line broadband user.
  • 66 per cent of online adults accessed online video content, and 52 per cent listened to audio content online.

Going mobile

  • At June 2014, there were 31.77 million mobile services in operation in Australia, an increase of 2.5 per cent.
  • At May 2015, 13.41 million people used a smartphone, up from 12.07 million at May 2014.
  • 79 per cent of online adults used the internet over their mobile phones at May 2015.
  • The volume of data downloaded via mobile handset increased by 85 per cent from the quarter to June 2014 to the quarter to June 2015.

Communications service and infrastructure developments

  • There were 1,539 carriage services providers (CSPs) at the end of June 2015, a net increase of over 10 per cent over the previous year, and 229 telecommunications carriers supplying network infrastructure.
  • At June 2015, 1,153,077 premises were serviceable by the nbn (up from 552,618 at June 2014) and 485,615 premises were activated (up from 210,628 at June 2014).
  • Mobile network operators have made significant progress in rolling out 4G mobile networks at June 2015:
    • Telstra’s 4G network covered 94 per cent of the population, up from 87 per cent from the previous year
    • Optus expanded its 4G metro population to just below 90 per cent
    • VHA’s 4G network reached 95 per cent of the metropolitan population.

Daily life

  • 15.8 million Australians had access to the internet in their home at June 2015.
  • The percentage of Australians accessing the internet over five or more devices increased by three percentage points to 26 per cent at May 2015.
  • 77 per cent of online Australians banked or paid a bill online, 72 per cent used social networking and 71 per cent accessed government websites.

The economic value of internet-related transactions

  • Revenue from the sale of goods or services online by businesses operating in Australia reached $266.8 billion during 2013–14, a $20 billion increase over 2012–13.
  • Expenditure on online advertising grew by 16 per cent to a total of $4.63 billion over the 2014 calendar year.

Telecommunications consumer safeguards

  • All qualifying CSPs met the Customer Service Guarantee Benchmarks for installing and repairing standard telephone services and meeting appointments for residential and small business customers.
  • In 2014–15, the number of new complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman declined by 10 per cent to 124,417.
  • The Do Not Call Register recorded a six per cent increase in the number of participants, up to 10.26 million numbers listed.

National interest issues

  • At June 2015 there was a small decrease (1.2 per cent or 104,076) in the number of calls to the emergency service numbers Triple Zero and 112.
  • Telstra again performed above emergency call answering regulatory requirements (the time taken to answer each call).

Internet security

  • There was an increase in the average number of computer infections reported under the Australian Internet Security Initiative, up from an average of 25,839 per day in 2013–14 to 26,645 per day in 2014–15.

Broadcasting

  • All major metropolitan free-to-air commercial network licensees met the Australian content transmission quotas for overall content, drama and documentaries in 2014-15.
  • On average, around 85 per cent of Australians aged 18 and over in the five major capital cities watched at least five minutes consecutively of free-to-air television (live and time-shifted) each week. In the combined regional markets, the figure was 84 per cent.
  • Watching live free-to-air television represents the largest share (59 per cent) of average time spent watching television or video content amongst adults.
  • All regional commercial radio and television broadcasting licensees broadcast the required amount of material of local significance.
  • 86 per cent of adult Australians listened to some radio in an average seven day period to June 2015.

The ACMA Communications report draws on a number of key data sources including:

  • the ACMA’s annual data request to carriers and carriage service providers and other information gathered by the ACMA as part of its day-to-day responsibilities
  • an ACMA-commissioned surveys of communication consumers conducted in May 2015 and June 2015
  • desk research undertaken by ACMA staff
  • Roy Morgan Single Source
  • data released by other agencies, such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Last updated: 02 December 2015

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