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Australia - Fixed Broadband Market - Insights, Statistics and Analysis

Australia - Fixed Broadband Market - Insights, Statistics and Analysis

NBN makes deployment progress as soaring SVoD traffic places extra demands on networks

This report provides statistics and analyses on Australia’s fixed-line broadband sector, including recent developments affecting the NBN as well as DSL and HFC networks. The report assesses overall market dynamics, and the key operating performance of the principal players. It also covers developments in NBN Co’s efforts to extend the footprint of the NBN by utilising the existing copper infrastructure of Telstra and Optus, and examines the likely trends which will develop into 2015 and further ahead as the broadband sector adjusts to the introduction of OTT and SVoD services from providers including Presto TV, Stan and Netflix.

Focus still on a second-best FttN infrastructure

The changing political landscape in Australia since 2013 has resulted in a fragmented broadband policy, with a national network based predominantly on FttP having been ditched for a multi-technology mix utilising existing and aging copper infrastructure. The country has fallen further in international league tables for broadband speed, a situation which will become more pronounced as its main trading partners and economic competitors ramp up their own FttP networks, and so pull further ahead as they capitalise on opportunities provided in the digital future.

DSL and HFC networks still of value

With the broadband sector now dependent on a multi-technology NBN, the DSL and HFC sectors have gained a reprieve of sorts. At the end of 2014 NBN Co struck a deal to incorporate copper infrastructure owned by Telstra and Optus within the NBN in areas where copper would provide the best service.

While much of the cable infrastructure has been upgraded to provide data at up to 100Mb/s, this is an interim measure. The DOCSIS 3.1 standard has scope to deliver 1Gb/s, and so meet the anticipated overall data needs of the average household in coming years. NBN Co in April 2015 revealed plans to trial new HFC technologies in several suburbs of NSW and Queensland by mid-year, with a potential to incorporate DOCSIS 3.1 technology within the NBN’s multi-technology mix from 2017. DSL could also potentially benefit from the recently standardised G.fast technology, though in both cases copper remains a solution for high density areas only.

Residential and business sectors requiring faster data

A growing number of businesses with access to the NBN have switched to fibre services in a bid to compete in the global economy more effectively, and make use of such services as cloud computing, online interaction, and media conferencing. Businesses connected with fibre generate far more traffic than their copper-based counterparts. The same trend is seen in the residential sector, where the launch of Netflix in March 2015 immediately showed the strains of popular video-on-demand on aging copper infrastructure.

Slow but promising growth in greenfield fibre

The deployment of FttP has been supported by a recent framework agreement under which new major housing sites are to be supplied with FttP infrastructure, or to be made ready for such deployment. Regulations proposed in late 2014 outlined the responsibilities of NBN Co and Telstra for the provision of fibre in these developments, and some of the aspects effective became effective from March 2015. These are aimed at improving competition, minimising costs, and providing a level playing field for operators. NBN Co is the operator of last resort for housing developments where a commercial solution is not economically viable, while Telstra fills that role under certain conditions. As a measure of progress since the slow impetus seen in 2011, in the third week of April 2015 alone almost 17,000 lots or premises were passed by the NBN, of which about 13,980 were in brownfield and 1,870 in greenfield areas.

Key developments:

Average traffic per user on NBN reached 83GB per month at end-2014;
Draft standards published related to vectored VDSL2 services on the NBN;
Government adopts a multi-technology mix for the NBN;
DSL vectoring developments;
HFC looks to potential of DOCSIS 3.1;
Telcos’ operating data to Q4 2014;
ACMA market report 2014;
ABS data to December 2014;
Recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report:

Optus, Telstra, Quickflix, Presto TV, Stan, NBN, TransACT, Exetel, Vodafone, Sensis, NBN Co, iiNet, TPG


  • EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
  • THE MARKET IN 2015
    • BROADBAND CHANGING TELCO BUSINESS MODEL FROM RETAIL TO WHOLESALE
    • LOW COST ECONOMY DEPENDS ON UBIQUITOUS AFFORDABLE HIGH SPEED BROADBAND
    • AUSTRALIA VS AMERICA – WHAT LEADERS SAY ABOUT BROADBAND SPEEDS
    • DOWNSTREAM SPEEDS VS UPSTREAM SPEEDS
      • Table Broadband speeds - 2015
      • Table Internet subscribers by advertised download speed – 2013 - 2014
    • BROADBAND SERVICES IN RURAL AUSTRALIA WORSE THAN WE THOUGHT
      • Table Time taken using average dial-up and high-speed broadband services
    • WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE ROLLOUT OF THE FIXED WIRELESS NBN IN REGIONAL AUSTRALIA?
    • THE MINISTER FOR LOST OPPORTUNITIES
    • REVISED NBN WITH MULTI-TECHNOLOGY ARCHITECTURE SEES FURTHER USE FOR DSL AND CABLE NETWORKS
  • GENERAL OVERVIEW AND MARKET INSIGHTS
    • OVERALL SIZE OF THE MARKET
      • Total broadband subscribers
        • Table Historical - Total broadband subscribers and annual change – 2000 - 2004
        • Table Total broadband subscribers and annual change – 2005 - 2016
        • Table Broadband subscribers, DSL and cable –2008 – 2014
        • Table Internet and broadband connectivity (fixed-line and mobile) – 2013 - 2014
      • Market shares
        • Table Broadband market share by technology and annual change – 2008 - 2014
    • ACCESS REVENUES
      • Statistical overview
        • Table Broadband revenues by major provider – 2005 - 2014
        • Table Annual change in broadband access revenues by major provider – 2006 - 2014
        • Table Market share of broadband access revenues by major provider – 2005 - 2014
      • Average Revenue per User (ARPU)
        • Table Estimated fixed broadband ARPUs – 2006 - 2015
    • OTHER SURVEYS AND STATISTICS
      • Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Survey – update December 2014
      • Statistical information by technology
        • Table Wireless internet subscribers by access technology – 2009 - 2014
        • Table Fixed-line internet subscribers by access technology – 2009 - 2014
        • Table Business, government and household broadband internet subscribers – 2009 - 2014
        • Table Business, government and household dial-up internet subscribers – 2009 - 2014
        • Table Business, government and household total internet subscribers – 2009 - 2014
      • Broadband speeds
        • Table Subscribers' average speed in Australia versus selected Asia Pacific countries – 2010 - 2014
        • Table Proportion of internet subscribers by download speed – 2009 - 2014
        • Table Internet subscribers by download speed – 2008 - 2014
        • Table Average SVoD streaming speed by ISP – April 2015
      • Broadband traffic
        • Table Terabytes of data downloaded by access technology (historic) – 2008 - 2014
        • Table Annual change in data downloaded by access technology – 2011 - 2014
        • Table Average data downloaded per subscriber (fixed-line and mobile) – 2013 - 2014
    • ISP MARKET OVERVIEW
      • The market going forward
        • Table NBN fibre premises passed – 2013 - 2014
        • Table NBN fibre premises activated – 2013 - 2014
      • Data limiting
      • ISP market statistics
        • Table Number of ISPs by size in the Australian market – 2008 - 2014
        • Table Number of ISPs – 2001 - 2014
        • Table Internet subscribers by key providers – 2013 - 2014
      • Consolidation in the ISP market
      • Digital Media – Triple play business models
      • Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) added to naked DSL
        • Table Household take-up of VoIP and MoIP services– 2010 - 2014
    • BENCHMARKING WITH OTHER COUNTRIES
      • Fixed broadband
      • Wireless broadband
        • Table Top ten OECD countries by wireless broadband subscriptions – 2012 - 2014
  • STATISTICAL OVERVIEW OF THE DSL MARKET
    • BRIEF OVERVIEW OF THE NBN
    • REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT – ANALYSIS
      • The impact of fibre optic networks on digital subscriber line (DSL) regulation
      • Unbundling of the local loop (ULL) and Bitsream Access
      • Wholesale DSL pricing
        • Table Wholesale DSL pricing, per month per user – 2013 – 2014
    • DSL INFRASTRUCTURE
      • Overview
        • Table Number of infrastructure providers by number of ADSL-enabled exchanges – 2007 - 2008; 2010 - 2011
        • Table DSL broadband subscribers –2008 – 2015
        • Table DSL subscribers and availability by state/territory – 2013
        • Table DSL premises affected by distance from exchange – 2013
      • Tool for competitors
      • DSLAM infrastructure
        • Table Number of DSLAMs by major providers – 2009 – 2012; 2014
        • Table Total number of DSLAMs – 2006 - 2014
        • Table Number of ADSL and ADSL2+-enabled exchanges – 2013 - 2014
        • Table Fibre Access Broadband (FAB) exchanges – Dec 2014
      • Street cabinet IP DSLAM2 upgrades (Top Hat)
        • Table Top Hat enabled exchanges – 2011 - 2013
      • VDSL developments
      • VDSL vectoring
    • BRIEF OVERVIEW OF BROADBAND PROVIDERS MARKET
      • Market consolidation
      • The shrinking number of ISPs
      • Market share statistics
        • Table Broadband DSL retail subscribers by major provider – 2011 - 2014
        • Table Total business and residential broadband subscribers – 2006 - 2014
        • Table Telstra broadband subscribers by sector – 2007 – 2014
  • STATISTICAL OVERVIEW OF THE HFC MARKET
    • TECHNOLOGY
      • Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC)
      • The DOCSIS standard
      • The next development for DOCSIS
      • HFC DOCSIS vs. fibre
    • MARKET STATISTICS AND ESTIMATES
      • Table Cable broadband subscribers by major operator and annual change – 2002 - 2014
      • Table Cable subscribers versus other broadband technologies – 2009 - 2014
    • TELSTRA
      • Background information
      • Network upgrades
    • OPTUS
      • Overview
        • Table Optus financial data – 2011 - 2015
        • Table Optus financial data by sector – 2009 - 2015
        • Table Optus on-net broadband subscribers – 2009 - 2014
      • Network upgrades
    • IINET/TRANSACT
      • Overview
    • BES/E-WIRE
    • AUSTAR UNITED COMMUNICATIONS (AUSTAR)
    • INDUSTRY ANALYSIS
      • DOCSIS 3.0 -v- DOCSIS 3.1 (Analysis)
      • Do we need infrastructure-based competition?
      • Moving on from the HFC of the past
      • No long-term future in HFC cable broadband
      • HFC incorporated in multi-technology NBN
      • From HFC to Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP)
      • Open access policy
  • BUSINESS BROADBAND MARKET STATISTICS AND ANALYSIS
    • MARKET TRENDS
      • Business market overview
        • Table Business, government and household dial-up subscribers – 2009 - 2014
        • Table Business, government and household broadband subscribers – 2009 - 2014
        • Table Business, government and household total internet subscribers – 2009 - 2014
      • ISPs targeting the business sector
      • Broadband stimulating companies to progress
      • Will the SME market finally succumb to VoIP?
      • The NBN and the business market
      • Business need faster speeds to communicate
        • Table Business uptake of broadband by access type – 2010 - 2014
      • The effects of broadband on business and government
    • BUSINESS MARKET SURVEYS
      • NBN Business Readiness Surveys
      • Small Business Telecommunications Service Use and Experience
      • Surveys reveal that moving online benefits businesses
        • Table SME online trends – websites versus social media – 2010 - 2014
      • Telstra Productivity Indicator
      • Sensis – e-business report
        • Table Historic - SME computer equipment ownership trends – 1999 - 2004
        • Table SME computer equipment ownership trends – 2005 - 2014
        • Table Computer hardware expenditure – SMEs and medium businesses – 2001 - 2014
        • Table Business trends in internet connections – 1998 - 2014
        • Table SMEs internet access methods, by technology – 2010 - 2014
        • Table Top uses of the internet by SMEs – 2010 - 2014
      • Optus Future of Business Report
        • Table Business focus on digital engagement – 2014 - 2016
        • Table Expectations of customer e-payments – 2011 - 2012; 2015-17
        • Table Priorities driving business investments – 2014
        • Table Areas of future business investments – 2014 - 2016
    • BUSINESS CUSTOMER EXPENDITURE ON TELECOMS
      • Overall telecom spend – business market
        • Table Estimated telco product mix of business customer spend – 2014
        • Table Estimated business and government market spending – 2013
      • SME market statistics
        • Table Revenue mix – total spend of telecoms – SME market – 2015
  • RESIDENTIAL BROADBAND MARKET STATISTICS AND ANALYSIS
    • STATISTICAL OVERVIEW RESIDENTIAL MARKET – TOTAL TELECOMS
      • Table Revenue mix – total spend of telecoms – residential market – 2014
    • INTERNET HOUSEHOLD STATISTICS
      • Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) surveys and internet connectivity
        • Table Historic - Total households versus internet enabled households – 1999 - 2004
        • Table Total households versus internet enabled households – 2005 - 2014
        • Table Broadband component of internet enabled households – 2005 - 2015
        • Table Proportion of internet households with children – 2005 - 2009; 2010 - 2013
        • Table Internet access households with children – 2005 - 2009; 2010 - 2013
      • Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) surveys
    • TRENDS IN THE RESIDENTIAL MARKET
      • Data increases in volume
        • Table Fixed-line broadband data usage by users – 2008 - 2014
        • Table Household/individual broadband connections – 2012 - 2014
      • Mobile broadband – no alternative to fixed line services.
      • Dial-up internet not hanging up, just yet
        • Table Historic - Dial-up and broadband internet subscribers – 2003 - 2004
        • Table Dial-up and broadband internet subscribers – 2005 - 2014
    • HOUSEHOLD USE OF TECHNOLOGY
      • Computer technologies
        • Table Computerisation in the home – 2014
      • Broadband technologies
      • Internet social media activities
        • Table Proportion of the population using social networking sites – 2011 - 2015
        • Table Social network site users – 2012 - 2015
    • OTHER RESIDENTIAL MARKET SURVEYS
      • Online services
        • Table Top 5 online applications – 2013 - 2014
        • Table Use of internet applications – 2009 - 2014
      • Fixed broadband stats: a federal report
      • New generations survey
      • Customer service issues and the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO)
        • Table New complaints to the TIO per 10,000 services in operation – 2013 - 2014
        • Table Total new complaints to the TIO – 2006 - 2014
        • Table Number of investigations by the TIO, by levels – 2009 - 2014
      • Demand for cost-effective broadband
  • THE NATIONAL BROADBAND NETWORK
    • POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS
      • NBN – this is as good as it gets
      • Labor's NBN 3.0 back to FttH
      • After the storm – do we need a national inquiry in the reliability of our telecoms networks?
      • Should taxpayers pay for a NBN based on MTM?
      • The Minister for Lost Opportunities
      • Staying focused on the NBN outcomes and bypassing political roadblocks
      • Biggest threat to NBN is political panic
      • The unravelling of the NBN
    • THE NBN COMPANY
      • How independent is NBN Co?
      • NBN Co threat to proper broadband competition
    • TECHNOLOGY ISSUES
      • Whatever happened to the rollout of the fixed wireless NBN in regional Australia?
      • The difference between FttH and FttP
      • Why Australia needs a Fibre-to-the-Premises policy
      • Market-led demand for FttH is picking up
    • COMPETITION ISSUES
      • Open up the metropolitan NBN market to competition
      • Competition in the telecoms industry is dwindling
      • TPG highlights the fragile NBN environment
    • OTHER ISSUES
      • Broadband services in rural Australia worse than we thought
        • Table Homes connected to fibre – 2005 - 2010
      • Australia vs America – what leaders say about broadband speeds
      • Content – the next regulatory war zone
      • NBN-related jobs increase by 248% since review
  • THE FTTP GREENFIELD MARKET
    • NEW GREENFIELDS POLICY COMES INTO PLAY
    • FIBRE DEPLOYMENT ACT 2011
      • Outline of the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Fibre Deployment) Act 2011 (the Act)
      • NBN Co provider of last resort
      • Outsourcing contract with Fujitsu
      • Refinements June 2011
      • Further strategic changes in 2012
    • ANALYSES
      • The balancing act in greenfield broadband
      • ADSL deployment continues
    • ROLLOUT DEVELOPMENTS NBN CO
      • Sydney's Doonside first to connect to the NBN
      • Nationwide roll out
        • Table NBN Cost per Premises – 2014
      • Greenfield construction contracts
    • FIBRE WHOLESALE FROM TELSTRA
    • PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION RULES ON COMPLAINTS
    • MAJOR PLAYERS
      • OPENetworks
      • OptiComm
      • Pivit
      • Other smaller providers
    • RETAILERS
      • Internode

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