The volume of data downloaded over mobile broadband networks has nearly doubled in the past year as the number of mobile handset subscribers in Australia increased to nearly 20 million.
Data downloaded over fixed connections also rose substantially as more people gained access to faster broadband connections, according to statistics released by the Bureau of Statistics.
The amount of data downloaded by mobile handsets jumped from 9.9 terabytes in June 2012 to 19.6 terabytes last June – equivalent to about 300 megabytes of data per subscriber per month.
Meanwhile, the volume of data downloaded over fixed line networks increased 60 per cent. This coincided with a big jump in the number of people accessing the internet over fibre connections, up from 52,000 in mid-2012 to 115,000. Cable connections rose from 917,000 to 934,000.
However, the latest information did not reveal how many people were using Wi-Fi networks to download content, such as music, podcasts and movies, to their mobile devices.
The number of people who waited until they had a Wi-Fi connection to do the data "heavy lifting" was increasing, according to the director of business development for the information sciences group at the CSIRO, Geof Heydon.
He said "everybody was on line now" with modern mobile and tablet devices making it much easier for all age and socio-economic groups to get internet access.
"You no longer have to be a computer user to be a big broadband user," he said.
The statistics show that the number of fixed and fixed wireless broadband connections has reached 12.3 million, plus the 19.6 million subscriptions to internet-enabled mobile handsets – totalling 30 million connections.
About 230,000 people were still using a dial-up internet, while 4.7 million had a copper line-based DSL connection.
Nearly half the fixed and fixed wireless broadband subscribers were getting speeds of 8 and 24 megabits per second while 34 per cent were getting less than 8 Mbps. Only 14 per cent were subscribed to advertised speeds of more than 24 Mbps.
The was also evidence of consolidation in the telecommunications market with fewer medium, large and very large internet providers in the market than in 2006. However, the number of very small service providers has jumped in the past year from 99 to 215 providers.