Demand for digital connectivity at all-time high | ACMA

Demand for digital connectivity at all-time high

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

This is a key finding of the Communications report 2016–17, produced by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and tabled in federal parliament today.

‘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.

Australians downloaded over 3.1 million terabytes in the June 2017 quarter, up 43 per cent on the same period last year*. Ninety-two per cent of all data in this quarter was downloaded over fixed-line broadband. Fixed-line broadband also contributed to more than 90 per cent of the download growth.

‘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,’ Ms O’Loughlin added.

Key insights from the report include:

  • an overwhelming majority of Australian adults (89 per cent) access the internet—climbing to 100 per cent 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

  • 70 per cent 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

  • 59 per cent of Australians watched content online at June 2017

  • premises activated over the NBN were up 122 per cent 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 per cent since June.)

  • mobile services in operation (voice and data) stood at 33.64 million in June 2017, up by three per cent on a June 2016

  • Mobile phone operators reported 4G network coverage in the range of 96–99 per cent of the Australian population.

‘Since 2005, the ACMA communications report has provided an annual snapshot of the rapidly changing communications sector,’ Ms O’Loughlin said. ‘It provides important insights into a sector that increasingly underpins Australia’s economic growth and prosperity.’

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 42/2017 - 8 December

*See Figure 2.6 in the Communications report 2016–17 and reproduced below.

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Last updated: 08 December 2017