Australia crawls along information superhighway

Australian Internet users are crawling along the information superhighway compared with other nations, according to a World Bank report into broadband speeds.

The report found that per head of population, Australia's broadband Internet speed was just over 1Mbit per second (Mbps).

This compares to Britain (13Mbps), France (8.4Mbps), Germany (6.85Mbps) Canada (6.8Mbps) and the US (3.3Mbps).

Australia's Internet costs were just under $25 a month compared to $29 in Japan, $33 in Britain and $20.50 in the US.

The report also said Australia had only 77 broadband connections for every 1000 people, which is lower than Canada, Japan and the US.

With most local users accesssing the Internet at 256Kbps, the federal Labor opposition claims Australians only use "fraudband" and the country should be aiming for at least a 10Mbps standard.

Companies like iiNet and Internode provide services up to 24Mbps via the existing copper-wire network.

But Australians are among the top users of mobile phones, with 887 per 1000 people.

This figure is higher than most European nations, Japan, and the US.

The cost of mobile phone calls in Australia is much lower than elsewhere. The report ranked Telstra the 28th largest telco in the world.

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