Radio broadcasters took 38 years to reach an audience of 50 million. Television took 13 years. The internet took just four.
Where are we now?
More and more of us are getting online and we’re using faster speeds to do so. In fact, by the end of June 2012, there were more than 12 million active internet users in Australia .
With most of us now connected to ADSL or ADSL2+ broadband services, we’re going online more often, accessing more ‘bandwidth hungry’ content like video and using more devices to do so.
All of this is adding up to more data – a lot more. Our internet data downloads grew by more than 50 per cent in the last year . Put another way, that’s more than 829,000 DVDs worth of data every month.
Globally internet data traffic is predicted to grow fourfold from 2011-2016, a compound annual growth rate of 29 per cent .
And this is placing huge demands on our existing copper telephone network.
Because despite the growth in wireless connections, fixed-line networks continue to carry the majority of internet data load – accounting for 94 per cent of all downloads in the three months ending in June 2012 .
How do we compare?
Australia’s broadband infrastructure is falling behind technology leaders like Swedens, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark and Norway – and it needs to change.
In June 2012, out of the 34 OECD countries, we ranked 21st in terms of fixed broadband take-up.
As of September 2011 we were four places below the OECD average in advertised download speeds across all fixed line technologies and even worse for fastest available advertised cable speeds (6th slowest) and DSL speeds (13th slowest).
The OECD statistics also demonstrate that Australia is generally one of the most expensive countries for broadband. As of September 2011, Australia was the fifth most expensive country in the OECD for low speed, low data cap broadband plans.
- Visit the OECD Broadband Portal
Where are we headed?
As broadband becomes an even greater part of our everyday lives, we’re likely to see a data explosion .
In fact, technology company Cisco predicts that the average monthly traffic in 2014 will be equivalent to 32 million people streaming the movie Avatar in 3D, continuously for an entire month – welcome to the zettabyte era .
As new devices and applications continue to rapidly drive bandwidth and usage growth, NBN Co is rolling out the future-proof solution that will give all Australian homes and businesses access to high-speed, reliable broadband, no matter where they live.
Internet signals move through the NBN fibre at the speed of light, so as advances in network electronics occur, that equipment can be upgraded to meet our increasing demands for higher speeds.
But the NBN won’t just meet our needs for greater speeds and bandwidth. It will also support innovation and the development of new applications that rely on higher speeds, capacity and reliability.
- Read NBN Co’s blog post on why technological breakthroughs are no threat to the NBN