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Mobile, Wireless: Surfs UP, OZ

By Oonagh Reidy | Tuesday | 09/04/2013

WE love surfing - online. Mobile, fibre, wireless the name of the game as the number of Internet subscribers hits 12.2m.

The number of internet subscribers soared 5% to 12.2m Australians in 2012,  according to data compiled by ABS from Aussie telcos.

There were 6 million mobile wireless Internet connections at the end of last year - a rise of almost half a million and is the dominant broadband technology -or half of all connections.

(DSL) Digital Subscriber Line via telephone were also up by 2% to 4.7 million, ABS data shows.

But interestingly, high speed fibre broadband (which NBN runs off) was the fastest growing type of internet connection, jumping a massive 75% since June 2012 to 91,000 connections by the end of the year.

Read: Its Here (Almost): Voda 4G "OZ Fastest" Hits June

Its also worth noting the number of slower dialup Internet connections -  the dominant Internet source in 2006 - has slumped by almost 200K users in the last six months to just 282K by December.

Mobile, mobile, mobile

The new ABS data also revealed a roaring surge in Aussies surfing the web via mobile phones.

Data downloads rocketed a massive 33% in the December quarter in comparison to the six months prior - topping 550,000 TB for the time ever as the number of tablets, iPads and smartphones owned by Aussies skyrockets.

"Data downloaded by mobile handset subscribers increased by 38 per cent to 13,700 TB, however this still represents a relatively small proportion of total data downloads," said Diane Braskic, ABS Director of the Innovation and Technology Statistics.

But according to data sources like MYOB's Business Monitor from August 2012, more than 60% of Aussie businesses are still without a web presence.

Google Australia jumped on the stats, with its Head of Retail, Ross McDonald warning business "without a website your business can't be found on the world's busiest shopping strip: the internet."

Not having a site is like not having a phone number, he said.

"Our use of the internet is only growing, so without a website your business can't be found on the world's busiest shopping strip: the internet."

"You wouldn't run a business without a phone number or mailing address and expect to receive orders or enquiries. But that's exactly what many businesses are still doing by ignoring the web.

"The numbers prove the opportunity out there. A physical store reaches passersby but a website can potentially reach thousands of people searching the internet."

Business owners don't need to spend a lot of money on elaborate websites to start.

Google now estimates only 1 in 3 large companies have mobile-optimised sites, but Google's Retail boss says "mobile is particularly useful for out and about people who are searching local" with mobile ads (m-comm) and Facebook commerce (F-comm) now soaring.

"The growth in data downloads is consistent with factors such as increased subscriber numbers, the continuing move away from Dial-up, and the emergence of technologies that enable faster internet," says Braskic.

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