The first of a new series of reports from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) detailing Internet usage confirms that downloads are continuing to soar. In the three months ended 31 December, Australians downloaded 5,061,987 terabytes of data according to figures compiled by the ACCC.
That’s 5.06 exabytes — or close to an average of 1.7 exabytes a month for the period considered in the ACCC’s Internet Activity Report.
The ACCC report is effectively the successor to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ quarterly release of Internet activity data. The final ABS release of data, covering the three months to June 2018, revealed that Australians had downloaded 4.08 exabytes over the quarter (an average of 1.36 exabytes a month).
The figures are not directly comparable, however, as the ACCC is collecting data from fewer telcos than the ABS. In addition, the ACCC said that some of the relevant data providers had made changes to internal reporting systems, improving the accuracy of the metrics they report.
The new report confirms that mobile handsets remain the most common method of accessing the Internet, with 24.3 million retail mobile services in operation as of 31 December, compared to a total of 15.6 million fixed-line or wireless broadband SIOs.
When it came to downloads, however, fixed-line remains king, accounting for 4.6 million TB of downloads, compared to 324,000TB for mobile handsets and 137,000TB for wireless broadband over the three-month period.
“This report provides a clear indication that while consumers are most often using their phones to access the internet, when downloading significant content they currently favour fixed-line connections,” ACCC Commissioner Cristina Cifuentes said in a statement.
The ACCC in December issued the Internet Activity Record Keeping Rule (RKR), which is used to collect the data for the report. The commission is pursuing a two-tier approach to gathering Internet usage data.
For the final quarter of December 2018, the ACCC collected data similar to that covered by the former ABS data release. From the June 2019 reporting onwards, the ACCC is intending to report far more data on retail broadband services.
That will include breaking down retail NBN services by wholesale speed tier, mobile SIOs broken down by prepaid, post-paid and mobile broadband at the wholesale and retail level, the number of unlimited data broadband plans (both broadband and mobile), as well as the volume of data downloaded broken down by NBN wholesale speed tier (as well as non-NBN access technologies and mobile services).