Australians Developing Internet Habit

  • Social networking drives increase on net browsing
  • Quarter of Australians heavy users of internet
  • Downloads almost doubled in a year

Research from the Australian Communications and Media Authority shows that Australians are embracing the digital economy, with big increases in the volume of data downloaded, time spent online and activities undertaken online.

“Most Australians today have access to the internet at multiple locations, whether at home, work or elsewhere,” said ACMA Chairman,  Chris Chapman. “Increasingly mobile internet is emerging as a complement to traditional fixed-line internet, allowing increased flexibility in terms of where and how the internet is accessed.

At June 2010, approximately 77 percent of the population 14 years and over were connected to the internet at home and 66 percent had a broadband connection. Nearly 2.4 million people used the internet via their handheld mobile during June 2010, up from 1.6 million during June 2009.

“Australians are using the internet more intensively, going online more often for a much wider range of reasons,” said Chapman.

Over the past five years, the frequency of internet use in Australia has steadily increased to the point where 28 percent of people 14 years and over were estimated to be ‘heavy’ users (online more than 15 hours a week) in June 2010. A further 27 percent were considered medium users (between 7 and 15 hours a week) and 23 percent light users (up to 7 hours a week). Only 14 percent were deemed to be heavy users during June 2005.

‘To the majority of Australians the internet is not just an entertainment tool but increasingly an essential part of their everyday lives, providing access to critical information and services. Australians now use the internet for a wide range of activities with communications, research, information, banking and finance and general browsing being most popular,’ said Mr Chapman.

Facilitated by increased internet speeds, the volume of information and content accessed by Australians via the internet is growing significantly, with 155,503 terabytes of data downloaded in Australia during the June quarter of 2010, compared to 99,249 terabytes during the June quarter of 2009, a year on year increase of almost 57 percent and again consistent with exponential trend witnessed over the last several years.

Online social networking continues to be a major driving force in the increasing intensity of online participation. During June 2010 alone, 8.7 million Australians accessed mainstream social networking sites such as Facebook and YouTube from home, spending in total more than 41.5 million hours on these sites.

For many Australians the internet is also becoming an important source of news and information with over 6 million persons accessing the mainstream online news sites from home during June 2010.