Monday December 8, 2003
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The local and global internet audience is rapidly maturing according to the research figures from IDC, Gartner and Red Sherrif.
Globally, industrialised nations are now heading for internet ubiquity, less than a decade after the internet was introduced to the population at large. Since the turn of the millenium, the number of internet connections in the world has nearly doubled, and by 2009/10, the number of people on the internet will exceed one billion.
Perhaps even more importantly, broadband internet access is gaining significant ground and the number of worldwide broadband subscribers grew 72% in 2002 to approximately 62 million, according to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
By 2008, the number of people who access the internet at broadband speeds will have passed 50% of all households in Europe and America, bringing an entirely different experience to the current predominance of modem-connected users.
Unfortunately, Australia's Broadband market 'remains severely depressed because of
Telstra's stranglehold on infrastructure (wholesale and retail), according to Australia's foremost telecommunications analyst, Paul Budde. 'Australia will drop from the already low 25th position in international (broadband) rankings in 2003 to 40th in 2005,' according to Budde.
Despite the poor growth of broadband access in this country, the recently released Red Sherrif Australian Internet Report shows that the incidence of Internet trial (that is, use of the Internet at least once) has risen significantly from 65% to 73% over the two years from 2001 to 2003 and some segments of the population are approaching saturation. Based on intended use measured by Red Sherrif, internet trial will rise to 79% next year.
The report underlines the progressive change in the role of the Internet from a recreational activity to more of a functional role. The report's most significant findings showed that
the key early adopter markets of 16-29 year olds and those earning $95,000+ has almost reached full saturation at 95% and 93% respectively.
Just six years ago, the incidence of internet trial for these demographic subgroups was 30%. The 16-20 year-old group is 'wired': every respondent had tried the internet and access, experience and skills are greater issues within this segment than opportunity to trial. This group represent the first generation for whom the Internet has become an integral part of their lives. Similarly, for those on higher incomes, a home Internet connection has become a household 'necessity', on par with mobile phones and pay TV. Future growth in Internet trial will be driven by those aged 50+ and earning less than $50,000.
Global Internet Connections - predicted growth