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Dial-up dies as better internet technology finds broadband appeal in Aus

Australians turn away from dial-up in droves, as the number of subscribers to mobile and fixed wireless has increased thirtyfold in six years.

Australians are turning away from dial-up internet connections in droves, while the number of subscribers to mobile and fixed wireless services has increased thirtyfold in just over six years.

According to statistics on Internet Activity in Australia, released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), 98 per cent of internet connections across the country were broadband (as at 31 December 2013), compared with 53 per cent just over six years earlier. This figure includes mobile and fixed wireless, DSL connections, and cable, fibre and satellite connections.

The climbing numbers of broadband subscribers has also been matched by an increase in the overall number of subscriber connections (a measure of the number of subscriber lines, rather than the number of individual users) — at December 2013 there were 12,397,000 subscribers, up 2 per cent in a year alone.

As dial-up use has dropped away, mobile and fixed wireless uptake has skyrocketed: from 1.7 per cent of subscriber connections in June 2006 up to 49.1 per cent in December 2013.

While this figure doesn't include mobile devices such as smartphones, more and more people are downloading data via their mobile. Across Australia, there were 2.9 million more subscribers accessing the internet via their mobile handset in December 2013, up to 20.3 million from 17.4 million the year before.

In June 2006, dial-up accounted for almost 50 per cent of internet connections. (Credit: Australian Bureau of Statistics)
By December 2013, dial-up internet had plummeted in popularity. (Credit: Australian Bureau of Statistics)

The ABS conducts its internet activity survey twice a year, taking into account the number of subscribers as at June and December of each year. Although the Bureau only graphed data as far back as June 2006 in its release today, the comparison over six years seen in the two graphs above paints a vivid picture of how Australia's internet landscape has changed in a short period of time.