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Regional Australians online more than ever

26 September 2016

nbnTM network bridging the digital divide between city and country


Australians are expected to spend an extra 22 days more on the internet this year than they did in 2014, with regional people accounting for the biggest increase in usage, according to a new study launched today.

One of the most detailed and extensive studies of online behaviour ever conducted in this country, the nbn Broadband Index, commissioned by nbn, confirms that Australians of all ages and in every state and territory are spending more time online.

Those connected to the nbnTM network are the greatest home internet users, with the biggest increase occurring in regional areas, where people are spending 1.7 hours more per week day on their home internet than they did two years ago.

The study shows that in 2014, people in metropolitan areas spent around 4.6 hours online during weekdays and 5 hours a day on weekends.  Now they spend 6 hours during weekdays and 6.5 hours on Saturday and Sunday. Move away from the metro areas and the change is even greater, with internet use jumping from 3.9 hours to 5.6 hours per day during the week and 4.2 to 5.4 hours on weekends when connected to the nbn™ network.

The nbn Broadband Index also shows that while Australians are online more, those not connected to the nbn™ network are significantly less satisfied with their internet experience than they were in 2014, particularly in regional Australia. However, the nbn™ broadband network is levelling the playing field, with nbn-connected households across both regional and metro areas significantly happier than non-nbn connected households.

People on the nbnTM network reported being 28 percent more satisfied with their uploading speed, 29 percent more satisfied with their downloading speed and 26 percent more satisfied when it comes to reliability than those not on the network.

nbnTM network consumers also rate their internet access significantly more important to achieving their occupational goals. In particular, the impact on regional workers is substantial with the greatest impact seen in the area of efficiency and productivity on the job.

Kelly Stevens, nbn spokesperson said:

“There’s no doubt that the nbnTM network is bridging the digital divide between urban and regional Australia.

“Our research found that nbn-connected regional consumers find the internet a far more empowering tool for job productivity and professional development than those not on the nbn™ network, and they’re more likely to say it’s vital to their job or business.

“In addition to the internet being crucial for work-related functions, people in regional areas also use it far more to connect with their community and to shop.

“While nbn™-connected and non-nbn™ consumers spent similar time online two years ago, the gap has widened over the past two years with nbnTM-connected consumers spending more time on the internet than ever before, as well as broadening their online activities.

“As we move further into the digital age, fast and reliable broadband will be vital in areas such as business, health, education, entertainment and leisure.

“Currently around three million homes and businesses can connect to the network across Australia, but as that number grows and we head towards our goal of eight million connections by 2020, the positive impact of the nbnTM network will become more evident.”

The nbn Broadband Index was undertaken on behalf of nbn by an independent research agency in June 2016. It surveyed 10,348 Australians across metropolitan, regional and remote areas including those connected to the nbnTM network and those not connected.

For the full report including graphics click here

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