Reg comments4

Australian Bureau of Statistics stops counting 24Mbps broadband services

Conspiracy-theorists, get out your tinfoil hats and wallow in the 1.71 Exabytes of data we download every 90 days

Australians downloaded 1,714,922 Terabytes in the 90 days to December 31st, 2015, according to new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The bureau's new Internet Activity, Australia, December 2015, released today, points out that 98 per cent of those downloads used wired networks, which rather dampens the argument that Australia can do without a new terrestrial network.

The report also notes that downloads increased by 50.4 per cent compared to the same 90-day period in 2014. El Reg notes that video-streaming arrived in Australia in early 2015, making it an obvious source of the increased downloads. And also that those services seem to have done just fine, winning over a million customers, without much fibre in the ground and a national average download speed, according to Akamai, of just 8.155 Mbps.

But we digress. Here's the data the ABS offers on downloads and their sources.

  Dec 2010 Jun 2011 Dec 2011 Jun 2012 Dec 2012 Jun 2013 Dec 2013 Jun 2014 Dec 2014 Jun 2015 Dec 2015
Volume of data downloaded                        
Dial-up TB 183 106 96 106 103 66 73 65 25 49 43
Broadband                        
Fixed line TB 174,665 254,947 322,280 389,130 526,472 629,964 823,421 963,429 1,112,379 1,349,975 1,673,123
Wireless TB 16,990 19,149 23,142 25,301 28,196 27,232 37,426 32,731 34,339 38,673 41,757
Total Broadband TB 191,655 274,096 345,422 414,431 554,668 657,196 860,847 996,160 1,146,718 1,388,648 1,714,880
Total TB 191,839 274,202 345,518 414,537 554,771 657,262 860,920 996,225 1,146,743 1,388,697 1,714,922
Proportion of data downloaded                        
Dial-up % 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Broadband                        
Fixed line % 91 93 93 94 95 96 96 97 97 97 98
Wireless % 9 7 7 6 5 4 4 3 3 3 2
Total Broadband % 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100
Total % 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100

Another item of interest in the new data is a re-classification of the way the ABS records download speeds advertised by internet service providers. The Bureau has combined the categories “8Mbps to less than 24Mbps” and “24Mbps or greater” into a single category titled “8Mbps or greater.”

That, to The Register's eye, is slightly odd, not least because DSL connections fell from 5.106 million to 5.03 million between June 2015 and December 2015. Fibre-to-the-premises connections ticked up from 420,000 to 645,000 in the same period, bringing with it lots of new connections capable of doing rather better than 24Mbps.

Why remove the faster category?

It makes no sense to do so in the context of the politics swirling around Australia's national broadband network (NBN): the government, having moved away from a fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) build in favour of a less scalable fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) build surely wants to be able to advertise that the project is delivering the promised 25Mbps connections.

Unless FTTN isn't delivering, in which case it makes sense to bury the true state of affairs … at which point we're well into conspiratorial territory best left to others after noting that the ABS is an independent statutory authority (that has secured AU$250m in funding for a major transformation. ®

Sponsored: The Joy and Pain of Buying IT - Have Your Say


Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2017