Australian internet data usage breaks exabyte barrier

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Australian internet data usage breaks exabyte barrier

Fibre connections grew 94 percent in 2014.

Australians pulled down 1.1 million terabytes, or just over an exabyte, of data through fixed and wireless internet connections last year, the latest set of official statistics show.

This represents a total increase of 15 percent over 2014, according to figures published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in an annual internet activity survey.

Australian broadband customers continue to load up their fixed connections - such as digital subscriber line (DSL) and fibre to the premises (FTTP) - increasing their data usage by 35 percent in the December 2013 to December 2014 period.

Smartphones are increasingly being used for internet data connections, the ABS stats show. While the number of mobile handset subscribers rose only slightly by 2 percent to 21 million, data usage jumped by 91 percent, to over 52,745TB from 27,627TB.

Wireless data usage - through satellite, data cards, dongles and other means - declined in the same time period, dropping from 37,426TB to 34,339TB, or by 7.8 percent.

Access speeds are creeping up in Australia with more subscribers - 2.3 million compared to just under 2.1 million the year before - having connections of 24 megabits per second or greater.

However, most broadband connections (6.7 million) provide download speeds in the 8 to 24Mbps range - just under 3.5 million only get 256Kbps to 8Mbps.

ABS defines broadband as 256Kbps. Its survey did not capture upload speeds.

Blue: mobile/fixed wireless
Green: cable, fibre, satellite and other
Mauve: DSL
Orange: Dialup

Although the total number of wireless connections dropped slightly from 6 million to 5.9 million, it continues to be the most common method of internet access in the country.

Fibre broadband connections are growing rapidly, almost doubling last year to 324,000. This remains a small proportion of Australia's fixed broadband connection landscape, which is dominated by DSL with over 5 million subscribers and cable with 966,000 users.

Dial-up internet connections declined sharply from 205,000 in December 2013 to 159,000 in December the following year, the ABS noted.

In total, Australia had 12.7 million internet subscribers last year, up from 12.4 million the year before.

The increase comes from residential and individual users - the number of business and government subscribers dropped from 2.7 million to 2.6 million last year.

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