Australia leads AP broadband revenue list

Australia's broadband market generates the strongest revenues for broadband services in Asia-Pacific despite housing only two per cent of the region's subscribers, a new report has found.

IDC's Australian broadband market analysis and forecast for 2001-2006 claims Australia is not only the leading revenue maker today, but by 2006 will take in 39 per cent of the region's broadband revenues with just eight per cent of its total subscribers.

According to the latest figures from IDC, Australia currently has 14 per cent of the total Asia-Pacific broadband revenue, followed by Hong Kong with 12 per cent.

IDC senior analyst for communications Emilia Wasiak says Australia's influential role in broadband revenue across the region is due to its high broadband service pricing and the dominance of corporate subscribers.

"Australia doesn't charge much more per month than other Asia-Pacific countries," she said. "The difference is the caps on Australia's DSL services. There aren't that many other Asia-Pacific countries which have such caps."

Unlike Australia, many other Asia-Pacific nations also waive the majority of the costs of installing the service, she added.

Although Australia is one of the more mature countries for broadband development, the country sits somewhere in the middle in terms of subscriber numbers, preceded by Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong. Australia does, however, have higher subscriber numbers than countries such as India, which are still developing their broadband infrastructure and services, Wasiak said.

Broadband access in Australia during 2001 grew by 448 per cent, to $914.2 million. Subscriber numbers are expected to increase by 132 per cent to 449,000 by the end of 2002 and to 3.51 million by 2006. 2002 figures are derived from both Telstra's and Optus's broadband subscriber take-up in the first four months of this year, as well as market surveys on supply and demand.

The IDC's figures are supported by those from the Australian Competition and Consumers Commission's (ACCC) recent Snapshot of Broadband Deployment report, which found a total of 251,500 Australians had signed up to a broadband service between July 2001 and March 2002 - an increase of 105 per cent.

Wasiak says the main reasons for the massive growth rates experienced between 2000 and 2001 is the relative newness of the technology.

"The 448 per cent increase is due to the fact that in 2000, broadband was a new technology with barely any subscribers. For instance, ADSL only had around 12,000 subscribers," she said.

Since late last year, the Australian broadband market has become increasingly competitive, partly stimulated by the industry's new wholesale prices and advertising campaigns, as well as the Government's push to drive high-speed access awareness, she said. More development of content through Telstra's broadband initiative fund, for example, will also help to drive growth to 2006.

Although competition is getting tougher in the broadband space, most of it is taking place in the business broadband market.

"We'll see more and more on this [business] front, because of the different networks being developed," she said.

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