Dramatic increase in regional Australians going online

From the bush to the big cities, more and more Australians are going online and they are using the internet more and more intensively.

Importantly, there has been a huge jump in the use of mobile phone internet services for the almost 40 per cent of Australians living outside the six biggest capital cities. In communities with less than 1,000 people one in three adults went online using their mobile phone during December 2013, compared to just one in 20, four years earlier.

Across Australia, going online on mobile phones has seen a dramatic increase. Nationally, 46 per cent of adults used the internet on their mobiles during December 2013 compared to just ten per cent during December 2009.

Other key findings from the ACMA research snapshot, Regional Australia in the digital economy, released today, include:

  • More Australians in communities with less than 1,000 people are going online at multiple locations, with 18 per cent of adult internet users in these communities going online from three or more separate locations such as home, work, school, the library or a wireless hot spot as at December 2013 compared to 12 percent at December 2009.
  • 46 per cent of adult internet users in communities with less than 1,000 people went online more than once a day at December 2013 compared with 33 per cent at June 2009.

Across all regions, Australians are diversifying their online activities to include email, research, banking, entertainment, blogging and social networking.  They are also becoming more intensive users of the internet - nearly six in ten adult internet users in communities with less than 1,000 people undertook five or more separate activities online during December 2013 compared to three in ten during December 2009.

While regional disparities in participation levels do exist, the gap is closing in some areas. Internet users in major urban areas are only slightly behind their major capital city counterparts in levels of internet connectivity and frequency of internet use. They are equal in terms of intensity of online participation.

Regional Australians are nearly as active online as other Australians, reflecting the increasing importance of the internet and online service delivery in their daily lives. A short video interview is also available giving a regional Australian perspective on mobile communications.

For more information contact: Emma Rossi, Media Manager, (02) 9334 7719 and 0434 652 063 or media@acma.gov.au