Australian Internet activity under the microscope

There were a stunning 718 Internet service providers (ISPs) in Australia supplying Internet access services to 3.8 million active subscribers at the end of September 2000, according to figures released last week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Some 595 (83 per cent) of those ISPs had operations in only one state or territory and 473 of those (66 per cent of all ISPs) had operations at only one Point of presence (POP).

Of the 3.8 million Internet subscribers in Australia, there were 3.4 million household subscribers and 432,000 business and government subscribers. Internet subscribers are customers (individuals or businesses) with ISP accounts, and counts of subscribers are different to counts of people/organisations with Internet access because, at any particular time, subscribers may have accounts with more than one ISP, the ABS explained.

During the September quarter 2000, there was an 11 per cent (336,000) increase in the number of household Internet subscribers and a 14 per cent (52,000) increase in the number of business and government Internet subscribers, according to the ABS's surveys.

By the end of the quarter, ISPs hosted 101,235 business and government Web sites of which 3710 (3.7 per cent) provided an environment for secure transactions. Web hosting services were provided by 93 per cent of ISPs and secure access transaction capabilities were provided by 48 per cent of ISPs.

Across Australia, ISPs provided 2244 POPs and 521,6454 access lines, which indicated that on average there were 7.4 subscribers per Internet access line, an ABS spokesman explained.

There were 1,052 million megabytes (M-Bytes) of data downloaded by Internet subscribers during the September quarter 2000, which is an average of 273M-bytes per subscriber. Household subscribers downloaded 595 million M-bytes for an average of 174M-bytes per household subscriber during the quarter, while and business and government subscribers downloaded 457M-bytes for an average of 1058M-bytes per subscriber.

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