Growth in DSL connections stagnates

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Growth in DSL connections stagnates

Wireless broadband continues to spike.

More Australians are jumping on board the wireless broadband train, according to statistics released today, while demand for DSL-based connectivity is stagnant.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics' twice-yearly Internet Activity Survey, fixed Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) connections - which six months ago represented 63 percent of non dial-up connections in Australia - are now used by 57 percent of broadband subscribers.

In actual terms, DSL connections barely moved at all - with 4,171,000 subscribers estimated in June 2009, down ever so slightly (0.02 per cent) on the 4,176,000 subscribers estimated in December 2008.

Mobile wireless plans continue to attract users - rising from 20 percent of non dial-up connections (1.3 million) in December 2008 to 27 percent (2 million) at the end of June 2009. The ABS noted that this data related only to USB dongles and datacards, not connections via Smartphones - which is only likely to inflate the figures further.

Shadow Communications Minister, Senator Nick Minchin, leaped on the report to decry the Federal Government's build of a fixed fibre network.

"Despite the Government's dismissal of wireless technology as "complementary", the fact is more and more Australians are making an informed decision to substitute fixed line services for wireless services because of the mobility and flexibility they provide," Minchin said.

Minchin made no mention, however, of the requirement for fatter fixed backhaul pipes as more Australians embrace mobile broadband.

The ABS also noted a "general trend towards higher download speeds", with 57 percent of subscribers opting for a download speed of 1.5Mbps or greater, compared with 51 per cent in December 2008.

Is Senator Minchin right? Is the rollout of the NBN in any danger of being cannibalised by the growth of wireless? Comment below...

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