Broadband in Australia is a subject which has been hitting the headlines for some time now as the government and business arena continue to push Australia to the forefront of the broadband revolution and secure the long-term future of the Austrian economy. The country itself has often been portrayed as the “poor cousin” of the likes of the UK and other countries with a close connection to Australia, but in reality Australia today is very different to the Australia of 10, 20 or 30 years ago.
Broadband providers in Australia
There are more and more broadband providers coming online in Australia offering services from the most basic Internet connection to the latest mobile broadband technology. The broadband providers in Australia at the moment include:-
While BigPond Broadband is unlikely to be a name you have come across before, the company is actually Australia’s largest Internet service provider with over 3 million customers. The company is well known for its cutting-edge high-speed Internet connections and offers everything from wireless Internet to mobile broadband.
Optus broadband has had an exposure to the Australian market, and surrounding regions, for many years and is well known as one of Australia’s leading ISP companies. The very fact the company has its origins in the telecom market has allowed it to cover the vast range of Internet services available taking in ADSL 2+, Naked DSL, Cable and mobile broadband.
Vodafone is perhaps one of the better known names in the world of mobile broadband and since winning Australia’s third mobile telecoms licence back in 1992 the company has gone from strength to strength. It is now vying for top position with BigPond and is not only at the forefront of developments in the field of mobile broadband but landline broadband as well.
AAPT is part of the larger Telecom New Zealand Group and has become one of Australia’s most dynamic and forward thinking telecommunications companies over the last few years. A no-nonsense approach to Internet and broadband services has seen the company’s customer base increase significantly over recent times. The company offers ADSL Internet and ADSL 2+ Internet connectivity.
The Dodo broadband group is fairly new to the market and at the moment is still finding its feet in what is becoming a very crowded market place. The range of Internet services available includes ADSL, ADSL 2+, Naked DSL and mobile broadband. This is perhaps one of the companies to watch in the future as the landscape continues to change.
The Virgin Broadband name is very much alive and kicking in Australia and while the company has focused upon the mobile broadband arena we are seeing the vast array of traditional Virgin products emerging into the marketplace. Virgin Broadband is a company which is very much at the cutting-edge of the UK market and looking to replicate this success in Australia.
NetSpace is one of Australia’s oldest Internet service providers with a history which goes back to 1992, with its origins as a bulletin board dial-up service. The progress and development of the group has mirrored that of the Australian Internet market and ensured that the company has remained at the forefront of Internet technology.
The Grapevine ISP provides broadband Internet across Australia using the TransAct network and the national network. Specialising in ADSL and ADSL 2+ Internet connectivity the group offers value for money in what is a very competitive market.
The above Internet service providers are but a small selection of the better-known names in Australia although the likes of People Telecom, Spin Internet, Exetel, iiNet, Internode and TPG Internet are also fairly prominent in the marketplace. Once you have decided where you are moving to in Australia, simply do a search for broadband Internet service providers in the region and see what is on offer.
The cost of Internet broadband in Australia
As with the UK broadband Internet market, the Australian market consists of a substantial number of deals and bundled packages which will appeal to different areas of the consumer market. Some of the more popular Internet service providers include Optus which charges around AUS$29.99 a month, AAPT which charges from AUS$29.95, Dodo which is one of the cheaper at just AUS$9.99 although the likes of Virgin Broadband at AUS$14.00 and Vodafone Broadband from just AUS$19.00 a month all come into play.
There has been some significant movement in the marketplace over the last few days with the announcement that Vodafone is slashing the cost of its prepaid mobile broadband starter pack and looking to make a major play for this particular area of the market. This pre-emptive move will certainly cause a reaction in the market place and we should see many of the leading competitors follow suit. The reduction in the setup cost of mobile broadband connectivity could turn out to be a significant step in the development of the overall Australian broadband market and in particular the Australian mobile broadband market.
Internet connectivity across Australia
For those who never been to Australia, or very much kept their visits to the more popular areas of the country, it can be difficult to understand and appreciate the size and massive difference in population density across the country. This is obviously having an impact upon the Internet market where the major players have centred upon the more popular and more densely populated areas as this is where they see the potential for greater profits in the long run.
However, that is not to say that some of the more sparsely populated areas of Australia have been left out and the fact that mobile broadband is gathering pace in the region is also a godsend to many. There are few countries in the world which could make use of, and do make use of, the full potential and full range of services available via the Internet as Australia does. As a consequence there can be significant variation in the cost and availability of Internet service providers across Australia and you must obviously do your homework before deciding who to go with.
Development of Australia’s broadband network
The Australian government has been very proactive in its approach to the Internet and in particular broadband connectivity which they see as the future of the Australian economy. The first phase of Australia’s national broadband network is expected to be open for business in the second quarter of 2010 with speeds of up to 100 Mb per second available across 5000 premises in the state of Tasmania.
There are ambitious plans for a countrywide roll-out of the broadband network which would cost around AUS$43 billion to create. Unlike countries such as the UK, the vast majority of the Australian broadband network will be financed by a series of public/private partnerships which will bring in experts in the field broadband and IT as well as the power of taxpayer funding. There is no doubt that the broadband network in Australia will form the basis of the future of the Australian economy and is set to create tens of thousands of jobs in the future.
Employment prospects in Australia
While there is no doubt that Australia is suffering from the worldwide recession, like each and every country around the world, there are great hopes for the future of this growing country. As we touched on above, the Internet will play a very important role in the future direction of the Australian economy with a recent European Commission survey suggesting that over 100,000 jobs have already been created by the broadband industry in Europe in 2006 alone.
It is forecast that upwards of 70,000 jobs will be created in Australia by 2014 primarily because of the introduction of the high-speed broadband network. It is interesting that even though Australia is suffering from the worldwide economic downturn it is expected that around 33000 jobs will be created in the internet sector by 2011. When you also factor in the eventual recovery in the Australian economy and the development of the national broadband network there are many positive aspects to consider with regards to settling down in Australia.
Broadband penetration in Australia
There have been great developments within the Australian broadband sector over the last few years and many people will be surprised to learn that a recent report, which focused upon broadband access to households throughout the world, has placed Australia ahead of the likes of the UK, Sweden, Germany and France, not to mention an array of other well-known and respected countries around the world.
Even though the vast majority of broadband penetration figures seem to focus upon the population penetration rather than the household penetration, the household figure does tend to give a more reliable picture. When you consider the vast area that Australia covers and the great swathes of the outback, the fact that the country is beating some of the more recognised broadband savvy countries is a testament to the Australian government.
The Strategy Analytics rankings for 2008 show that, unsurprisingly, Asia is the most developed continent in the world in relation to broadband development with South Korea taking the plaudits where 95% of households have access to broadband Internet connectivity. The likes of Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong also figure prominently in the high 80%+ bracket while the likes of the Netherlands (85%) and Denmark (82%) figure most prominently in Europe.
Australia comes in at a very credible 11th with 72% which reflects very positively when you consider that the United States of America is at number 20 with a penetration of just 60%. The vast majority of Western European countries are stuck in the mid-50% bracket although it is worth noting that countries such as Egypt (3% penetration), India (2%) and Indonesia (1%) appear to be well out of the loop.
Working from home in Australia
As we have touched on in some of our earlier articles there is a growing trend for home businesses and home working which is starting to spread around the world. The ability to literally work in any country and remain in contact with your customers from around the globe is something which is vital to individual employees, companies and local economies. Even though Australia has many positive aspects which continue to attract significant expats to the region it is the forward thinking of the Australian government which could set up the economy for a significant period of growth in the medium to long term.
Many Internet service providers have noted the potential for significant growth in broadband use and broadband penetration in Australia and the enormous profits this could and should bring. While there are many local companies operating in the Australian broadband market, some of the more internationally renowned names such as Vodafone and Virgin Broadband are now making a significant play for a slice of the action.
Australia is a country which is in some ways still struggling to shake off the impression of being dominated by a barren outback where homes can literally be hundreds of miles away from their nearest neighbour. While it would be wrong to suggest there are not some areas of Australia which still fit the stereotypical image, the more densely populated cities and towns have undergone major development over the last few decades and continue to grow.
The Australian government has been very proactive in the area of Internet broadband connectivity and IT in general which has set up the economy for the future. While many people will be surprised to see that broadband household penetration in Australia is significantly ahead of the likes of the UK and the US, for those with an in-depth knowledge of Australia and the changes over the last few decades, this may not be such a surprise.
Australia has for some time been one of the more popular countries of the world and has attracted enormous numbers of visitors looking to relocate and start a new life. Historically the country has the weather and the culture to attract people, but over the last few years the economy has been nurtured and received enormous investment from the Australian authorities, something which is starting to pay dividends. There is no doubt that Internet broadband connectivity in Australia is improving all the time and the ongoing development of the national broadband network is putting country such as the UK and the US to shame.
Australia is no longer the poor cousin of more recognised economies around the world and is very much able to stand on its own 2 feet in this new cyber world we live in.