This particular survey is part of a series that has been produced for some years now and because the data is 'volunteered' by the individual ISPs contacted by the ABS cannot be regarded as anything but a broad indication of trends - it certainly can't be regarded as 'factual'. One issue they appear to have removed from these figures is that now they only count the information submitted from ISPs with 10,000 or more customers which may lead to some understatement but almost certainly removes a fair bit of previous over statement by 'double counting' the myriad of tiny resellers whose 'customers' were almost certainly already reported by their wholesaler.
One of the reasons it cannot be factual, assuming I'm reading it correctly, is indicated by the low increase in the number of ADSL connections over the past 15 months (and especially over the past six months) which if you read this report the same way I do amounts to 1% per month:
31/3/07 - 3,365,000
31/12/07 -3,702,000 (a 9% increase in 9 months)
30/6/08 - 3,936,000 (a 6% increase in 6 months
According to these statistics, the number of new ADSL services grew by just 234,000 over the past six months or slightly less than 40,000 a month. Exetel's ADSL customer base increased by over 2,000 net users each month in that period which, if these ABS numbers are correct, would mean that Exetel is achieving 5% of the total monthly growth in ADSL connections over that six month period - an absurd 'statistic'. Our own estimates are that Exetel has a little over 1% of the Australian ADSL market and possibly increases that percentage by a one or two tenths of a percent each six months.
Should these ABS numbers be correct then there have been more than a few ISPS telling quite a few 'porkies' about their achievements recently.
So bear in mind that these figures, irrespective of their highly credentialed source, are highly questionable in my opinion because, even allowing for the fact that certain 'spokespeople' for various commercial entities in Australia couldn't lie straight in bed these statistics seem strangely disconnected to the statements made by ISPs over the past six months (with the exception of Simon Hacket of Internode who did say that "the ADSL market was slowing" (or words to that effect) recently - something I saw no evidence of at the time and still see none.
The figures that interested me most were the ones concerning the growth of wireless broadband over the past 15 months and particularly the last 6 months. If the ADSL figures are in any way correct perhaps the rapid growth in wireless broadband explains the dramatic slow down in DSL - but somehow I doubt it.
The wireless broadband numbers were reported as:
31/3/07 - 227,000
31/12/07 - 433,000
30/6/08 - 809,000
which means, if you do the simple arithmetic (and you believe in the accuracy of the ABS numbers), that almost as many people signed up for wireless over the last 15 months as people did for ADSL but the amazing figure is that over the past six months almost DOUBLE the number of people signed up for wireless as did for ADSL.
For those people who have bothered to read my ramblings here over the past 15 months you would have seen me write many times that HSPA would quickly become the preferred low end broadband services but these figures indicate that has already happened and goodness knows what the next ABS survey will show.
Makes you wonder about the whole 'value' of CK and SS's NBN 'tender' and also at the 'value' of the 'investments' in ADSL2 DSLAMs by small ISPs over the past 2 years.
Then again - the statistics are probably wrong (I'm sure more than a few people in a few ISPs are hoping that's the case before they front their next director's meeting).
While im sure the number of pure HSPDA services have accellerated over the last 6-12 months I wonder if some of the telco's are listing their predominately 3g phone users as "data subscribers". Eg I wouldnt rate a 50mb a month add-on data pack as an internet service but a carrier like 3 might and this may skew their stats.
I also wonder if the numbers are becomming more real with "double counting" being removed as less and less tier 3 and tier 2 ISP's exist adding their numbers to the numbers that their "wholesalers" are providing.
when Vodafone released their 5GB for $39 deal they were going through around 10k E220 modems a month for a while there (and were still in short supply) so it's quite possible that the wireless offers have had some sort of impact on the slowdown of DSL connections
John, sometimes it seems you have trouble believing your own success! 5% of all new ADSL sign ups is entirely plausible for an ISP of Exetel's size and aggressive price positioning.
And I don't see any slow down in DSL takeup in the ABS data either. Looks linearly, even perhaps very, very slightly exponentially, upward so to me (and wireless growth is clearly exponential). But who knows to what extent present trends will continue?
And based on the ABS figures I can't see how Internode can say that "the booming broadband market (is) expected to plateau during the next 18 months". Although I can see why they might make that statement about their own customer base (at least based on the small amount of modelling I was able to do).
The ABS figures are based on survey forms filled out by those same ISPs. So unless a major ISP failed to submit its data I can't see how this set of figures would be somehow inaccurate compared to one six months ago. I can certainly believe that the 3G numbers might be overstated but one's man download is another man's Internet. I might not be websurfing on my phone but if I'm using the packet layer for any form of download I am technically a broadband user. I'd defend the ABS - they are one of the class acts among international statistical agencies.