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Australians downloading more, and at greater speeds

Australians are downloading more online and they're seeking out faster download speeds, according to new stats from the ABS.

Australians are downloading more online and they're seeking out faster download speeds to do so, according to new stats on internet use, out today from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

In the three months leading up to 31 December 2013, Australian internet users downloaded 860,000TB of data (823,000TB through fixed line connections and 37,400 via wireless). While that's a big figure in and of itself, it's a 55 per cent increase on the volume of data downloaded just one year earlier.

These figures come at a pertinent time for Australian internet users. Just yesterday, the season four premiere of Game of Thrones aired on pay TV, once again reigniting the debate around Australia's downloading habits (last year, the show won the dubious title of most torrented show of 2012 according to news site TorrentFreak).

Torrents are just one piece of the downloading pie, but if today's data is any indication, Australians are downloading more content than ever before.

They're also demanding faster download speeds, with dial-up connections disappearing into the ether and broadband internet access becoming du jour. The number of subscriber connections for broadband speeds above 24Mbps grew significantly over the past year, up from 1.6 million in December 2012 to 2.1 million in December 2013.

But as more Australians head online to download more content at ever-faster speeds, there is a limit - the CSIRO has warned that Australia faces a "spectrum crunch" as user demand outstrips the capacity of the country's radiofrequency spectrum.

With the CSIRO's latest whitepaper warning that "today's technologies and infrastructure will be hard pressed to support further increases in demand," the kind of growth in internet use seen in today's ABS figures may not continue unabated.