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Australian homes embrace online access

The Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Richard Alston today called on Australian businesses to assist the continued growth in household penetration rates for computers and continued increases in Internet access.

According to May 2000 figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, more than half of all Australian homes have a computer and for the first time, 51% of regional homes now have a computer, a 21% increase in just three months. The figures also show that a third of homes now have Internet access, an increase of 350,000 homes between February and May this year.

"In light of these encouraging results, I would call on all businesses to look at how they can make a strategic and long-lasting investment not only in improving productivity and IT skills but in helping to drive demand for content and online services.


"It's time for all Australians, including those with narrow political agendas, to acknowledge Australia's achievements and work together to ensure that our reputation as an information economy continues to grow."

The latest ABS figures show that:

· Household penetration for Internet access is now up from 28% to 33% in the last quarter, representing on average 4,000 new household connections per day since May;

· Regional household PC penetration rates increased from 42% to 51% in just three months;

· Regional people are more likely to access the internet from public internet access points in libraries and community centres and other locations, many provided by projects funded from the partial sale of Telstra; and

· Deregulation has led to cheaper prices and greater choice, with two thirds of households changing their ISP in the last 12 months to obtain a better deal.

"These impressive ABS figures come hot on the heels of the recent Goldman Sachs' and OECD reports that confirm Australia's growing reputation as a new economy," Senator Alston said.

See also www.australia.org.nz


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