Australia ranks second in APAC region for Internet adoption

South Korea tops the rankings

The first comprehensive review of Internet behaviour covering 10 countries in the Asia Pacific region reveals Australia has the second highest online penetration rate behind South Korea.

Compiled by research organization comScore, which measures the digital world, the study was undertaken in May, 2007 when nearly 284 million people over the age of 15 accessed the Internet from either a home or work computer in the region.

This represents 10 percent of the Asian-Pacific population 15 years and older.

The average person in the region visited the Internet on 13.8 days in the month and spent 20.2 hours viewing 2,171 pages.

This compares to the global average of 17.1 usage days per month, 25.2 hours and 2,519 pages per month indicating that PC-based Internet usage is lower here than the rest of the world.

South Korea boasts the greatest rate of Internet usage with 65 percent of its population online followed by Australia with 62 percent, New Zealand with 60 percent and Hong Kong with 59 percent.

India was the lowest at three percent. While China has the largest online population with 91.5 million people, penetration is only nine percent.

China, Japan and South Korea combined account for 60 percent of the region's Internet population.

The most popular site in the region is Yahoo followed by Microsoft and Google.

comScore executive vice president, Bob Ivins, said Internet usage in the region is growing at a rapid rate and accounts for one third of the world's online population.

To increase Internet usage in Australia, the federal government has been pushing broadband adoption and the centrepiece of this campaign is Australia Connected, a new national wholesale network that aims to ensure 99 percent of the population has access to high speed broadband by 2009.

The Australian government is providing $600 million of Broadband Connect funding, supplemented with an additional $358 million appropriation - to a total of $958 million - to enable the rollout of the new network.

Optus and Elders are committing over $900 million of their own capital towards the rollout.

The network is a mix of technologies including WiMAX, ADSL2+, fibre and satellite.

The WiMAX network will deliver broadband speeds of 12 mega bits per second, scaleable into the future, whilst ADSL2+ will provide speeds of up to 20 mega bits per second.

ICT Minister Helen Coonan said the government's initiatives have vastly improved broadband access with well over 1.3 million households receiving access since 2004.

Coonan said since 1997, the overall average price of telecommunications services has fallen by 26.2 per cent and the sector has delivered $15.2 billion dollars of growth to Australia's economy.

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