Rural Australia getting online

Regional Australia is taking advantage of online shopping, banking and telephony as an alternative to conventional banking and telecommunications, according to the latest Australian Rural Internet Report.

APT Strategies surveyed 1000 rural Internet users for the report which revealed 80 per cent of rural users access the Web either daily or several times a week.

Marc Philips, principal of APT strategies said: "Many rural based consumers and businesses are using Internet technology to reduce costs associated with living in a remote location, gain access to a better range of goods and services - many of which are otherwise only available to city dwellers - and are edging closer to the emerging global information economy."

Internet services are being adopted at a rapid rate in regional areas as the banking sector and telecommunications services are rationalised. Around 150 bank branches have closed in rural areas over the last two years, and according to the report, 18.1 per cent of respondents said they had used the Internet to conduct finance related transactions.

Other results from the survey include:

8.6 per cent of rural Internet users have used Internet telephony;18.5 per cent of rural Internet users have purchased goods and services on-line;11.8 per cent have made purchases two to four times in the past 12 months;51.8 per cent of rural Internet users are involved in a virtual community; and31 per cent use the Internet Relay Chat and ICQ and 20.7 per cent subscribe to e-mail newsletters

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