Wednesday, June 27, 2012

NBN Shmen-BN - we're connecting to the net as never before

And we're doing it through broadband

The national broadband network may be a decade away, but already 91.2 per cent of Australian businesses are connected to the net. Of those, an impressive 99.1 per cent connect by broadband rather than dial-up.

Even in the agriculture sector, where a lower 88.5 per cent of businesses use the net, 98.3 of them do it via broadband.

The annual Bureau of Statistics survey finds Australia’s smallest businesses the least connected. So-called micro businesses employing four or fewer people have an 89 per cent connection rate (99 per cent via broadband). Mid-sized businesses employing up to 19 people are 93 per cent connected (99.2 per cent via broadband). Big business employing 200 or more are all connected (99.7 per cent by broadband).

Five years earlier when the then Labor opposition was drawing up its plans for the national broadband network only 81 per cent of businesses were connected to the net, although even then 82.5 per cent did it via broadband.

The big change has been in the use of the net...

Five years ago only 30 per cent of Australian businesses had websites. Today it is 42 per cent. Among businesses employing 20 or more people it is 74 per cent. Five years ago only 37 per cent of businesses placed orders via the net. Today it is 51 per cent.

The proportion of businesses capable of receiving orders via the web climbed from 21 to 28 per cent. A record $189 billion of orders were taken by the web during 2010-11, up $46 billion on 2009-10.

The sectors making the most use of the web for taking orders are wholesale trade and manufacturing, where more than 50 per cent of businesses engage in e-commerce. The sectors using the web least for transactions are agriculture and health care and social assistance. But even in those legard sectors e-commerce is far more prominent. Five years ago just 2 per cent of health care and social assistance businesses took orders via the web. Today it is 13 per cent.

The ABS measure of orders taken by the web is conservative, excluding regular orders made via the internet for which the original commitment to purchase was made using other means.

In today's Sydney Morning Herald

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