The demand for internet data from Australians will increase by more than four times in the next decade but 98 percent of households won’t need speeds of more than 49 megabits per second.
That’s according to the ‘Demand for fixed-line broadband in Australia’ working paper, released by the Department of Communications and the Arts, and the Bureau of Communications and Art Research.
It found that Australians’ demand for quick internet and data will rapidly increase across the next decade.
The report aimed to identified the main drivers of demand for data and bandwidth in Australia and how this will change by 2026.
It said that households accessing video over the internet through streaming services like Netflix will account for more than half of the forecast growth in data downloads across this time.
“Australians’ appetites for internet services continue to grow, with expectations that they can access the services they want, when they want to, with ease and speed,” the working paper said.
The main drivers for this change will be improvements in technology, along with rising real incomes and the ageing of younger generations, the report said.
“Households will spend more of their available leisure time using new technologies such as ultra-high definition online video content and virtual reality, and increasingly use more than one device at the same time,” it said.
The working paper forecasts that the volume of data demanded each month by the average household will jump to 420 gigabytes in 2026, up from 95GB in 2026.
According to the study, peak bandwidth demand for the highest usage households will increase from between 11-20 megabits per second in 2016 to between 20-49Mbps in 2026.
It said that 98 percent of households will not demand more than 49Mbps speeds in the next decade.
According to ACCC figures, more than half of the current NBN users are on 25Mbps tier, just under 30 percent are on 12Mbps, and five percent are on 50Mbps.
Communications minister Mitch Fifield said the federal government’s rollout of the National Broadband Network will meet the rising demands identified in the working paper.
“The Coalition’s rollout will ensure 90 percent of the NBN fixed-line footprint will deliver download speeds above 50Mbps, and all premises will be able to receive peak wholesale speeds of at least 25Mbps by 2020,” Fifield said.
“Thanks to the Coalition’s more affordable rollout, the NBN is providing Australians with more broadband bang for their buck and higher bandwidth than the majority of users require.”
But this rollout has been plagued with issues and controversy, and has been a constant source of conflict between the government and the Labor opposition.
Late last year the ACCC launched an inquiry into the NBN wholesale service standards after complaints about the service increased by more than 150 percent in the last year, hitting over 27,000 in 2016-17.
In releasing the working paper’s findings, Fifield slammed the Opposition’s approach to the NBN.
“Labor wants to pour billions of taxpayer dollars into a gold-plated network that consumers don’t currently need and are not willing to pay for,” he said.
“The Coalition’s NBN is keeping internet bills low and taxes down, meaning more money in consumers’ pockets.”
Concerns have also been raised that the upcoming new 5G mobile network will provide a better service than the NBN. The working paper found that the average NBN connection today downloads just under 200GB of data each month, almost 100 times more than they do on mobile devices.
“While consumers enjoy the advantages of mobility, this report highlights the role of fixed networks in meeting Australian households’ growing appetite for more data,” Fifield said.