Australian Internet take-up leaps ahead

But the bush is being left behind in the rush

Internet access in Australia has nearly doubled since 2001, according to an analysis of census information released recently by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

In 2001, just over a third (35 per cent) of homes across Australia had Internet access; in 2006, that had grown to nearly two-thirds (63 per cent).

Nationally, two-thirds (66 per cent) of homes in major cities have Internet access, compared to less than half (42 per cent) in very remote Australia. Broadband is used by 46 per cent of homes in major cities and 24 per cent in very remote Australia.

The Australian Capital Territory had the highest connection rate, with three-quarters (75 per cent) of all homes connected and more than half (53 per cent) of them on broadband connections.

Similar rates were seen in New South Wales (63 per cent total and 42 per cent broadband), Victoria (63 per cent and 42 per cent), Queensland (64 per cent and 41 per cent), and Western Australia (65 per cent and 41 per cent). The lowest connection rate was in Tasmania, where 55 per cent were connected and 28 per cent were on broadband.

The report also found that income and education were key factors influencing people's Internet access:

  • Households with an income of $A2000 or more per week were three times more likely to have broadband than households on less than $A600 per week.
  • Families with children under 15 or dependant students, were three to four times more likely to have internet access than other families.
  • People in low skill occupations were about a quarter less likely to have broadband.
  • People who were not in the labour force were 18 per cent less likely to have broadband.
  • Unemployed people were 12 per cent less likely to have broadband.
  • Indigenous households were only about half as likely to have broadband as were non-indigenous households.

Len Rust is publisher of The Rust Report.

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