The digital economy in Australia
Australian access and subscribers
- At the end of June 2010, there
were 9.6 million active internet subscribers in Australia.
- 92% of Australian internet
subscriptions were non dial-up in June 2010.
- 71% of Australian access
connections offered download speeds of 1.5Mbps or greater in June 2010.
- Mobile wireless (excluding
handset connections) was the fastest growing technology in internet access, up
21.7% from December 2009.
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics
Australia in Context
- In 2006-07 BB speeds in OECD countries increased
by 27%, while costs decreased by 16%.
- There were around 309 million internet
subscribers in OECD countries in 2006. This number has doubled in 6 years.·
- In 2006, OECD Europe accounted for 44%
of OECD Internet Subscribers, North
America for 38% and OECD Asia and Oceania for the remaining 18%.
- In 2007, Korea (94%), Iceland (84%) and
the Netherlands (83%) had the highest share of households with home access to
- In 2007, 64% of Australian households
had access to the internet, above the OECD average of 58%. However, only 93.5%
of Australian medium and large businesses were using the internet, compared to
an OECD average of 95%.
- In all OECD countries, elderly people
are less likely to use the Internet than young people.
- In most OECD countries, men are more
likely than women to use the internet. However, this trend was reversed in the
US, Canada and New Zealand.
- Internet usage is lower for less
educated individuals all the OECD, while internet penetration is the highest
among high-income households.
- In 2007, less than 55% of Australian
businesses had a web-presence. This compares to an OECD average of 67%. More
than 87% of Japanese businesses were on the internet.
Source: The Future of the Internet Economy: A Statistical Profile
. OECD, 2008.
- Online retail sales in the US
alone reached US$175 billion in 2007 and are forecast to almost double to
US$335 billion by 2012. (CSIRO/Forrester 2010).
- In 2009, the internet contributed
an estimated £100 billion, or 7.2% of GDP to the UK economy. Approximately 60%
of the Internet economy is driven by consumption, a reflection of the UK’s
strength in e-commerce. The UK is a net exporter of e-commerce goods and
services, exporting £2.80 for every £1 it imports. (Boston Consulting Group, 2010)
- 32% of Australians have purchased
retail items online. (Consumer Commerce Barometer).
The digital economy as productivity driver
- A 2007 US study (by the Centre
for Information Technology Leadership at Harvard) estimated that, if the necessary broadband
was in place, the following could be avoided:
- 850,000 patients transports
between emergency departments
- 40,000 transfers from prisons to
- 387,000 transfers from nursing
homes to health facilities
- And a 19.7% reduction in
unnecessary tests and trials using real-time video consulting and a 21.8%
reduction using store and forward image transfer.
- After recouping installation costs (5 years) net
savings of approximately $US4.28 billion per year could be realised. If simple population relativity is applied, this equates to around $296 million per year in Australia. (Access Economics 2010)
- One of the telehealth services
currently reimbursed by Medicare is rural tele-psychiatry. Tele-nurse support
has found to improve depression outcomes by 50% over the control group, who
receives only medication. (Access Economics 2010).
- Two-thirds of Australian
radiology service providers use tele-radiology, including around 20% who send
their images interstate for diagnosis (Access Economics 2009). This leads to improved productivity in over 75% of cases.
- Around 2% of radiology images are
now analysed by Australian radiographers who are employed overseas, so that
their standard hours can overlap with Australia’s night hours. (Access Economics 2010).
- In the US from 1998-2002, employment in
communities with broadband was found to grow 1-1.4% faster than communities
without it. So for a rural town with a population of 10,000, broadband would
yield an additional 100-140 jobs. Broadband communities also showed increases
in the number of businesses overall and in the number of businesses in
IT-intensive sectors (MIT 2006).
- Proprietary research suggests
that SMEs that are active online are more successful, are growing more quickly
and are reaching wider markets than their peers (Boston Consulting Group, 2010).