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Australia 11th in world for broadband access

South Korea, where 95 per cent of homes have broadband, topped a world survey on access to the high-speed internet.

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Among other Asia-Pacific nations, Australia ranked 11th with 72 per cent, Japan ranked 16th with 64 per cent, New Zealand ranked 25th with 57 per cent and China ranked 43rd with 21 per cent.

The United States, where just 60 per cent of households had broadband as of last year, ranked 20th in the survey of 58 countries by Boston-based Strategy Analytics, released on Thursday.

Asia ahead

Five of the top 10 countries or territories in the survey were in Asia and the firm predicted the broadband subscriber base in the Asia-Pacific region will grow on average by a further 15 per cent a year between 2009 and 2013.

Strategy Analytics said South Korea’s highly-urbanised population and its government-backed broadband policy accounted for its high rate of broadband penetration.

With South Korea ranked first the other top nine included Singapore ranked second with 88 per cent, followed by the

Netherlands (85 per cent), Denmark (82 per cent), Taiwan (81 per cent), Hong Kong (81 per cent), Israel (77 per cent), Switzerland (76 per cent), Canada (76 per cent) and Norway (75 per cent).

India down bottom of list

Thailand ranked 51st with seven per cent, Vietnam ranked 52nd, also with seven per cent, the Philippines ranked 53rd with five per cent, India ranked 57th with two per cent and Indonesia ranked 58th with one per cent.

Strategy Analytics acknowledged that measuring broadband penetration has been a subject of controversy with arguments being made over whether it should be measured by household or per capita.

“Broadband rankings are often the subject of great debate and hand-wringing,” said David Mercer, vice president of Strategy Analytics.

“Though our rankings may differ from those of other organisations, it is because we are looking at the appropriate metrics,” he said.

“In far too many cases, people are looking at the wrong things,” said Ben Piper, a Strategy Analytics analyst.

‘Misleading results’

“Residential broadband is overwhelmingly consumed on a household basis — not individually,” he said.

“Reporting broadband penetration on a per capita basis misses the mark, and can provide grossly misleading results.”

A survey released on Thursday by the Washington-based Pew Research Centre’s internet and American Life Project found that as of April of this year, 63 per cent of individual adult Americans have broadband internet connections at home.

That was an increase of 15 per cent from a year earlier, Pew said, and an indication that the economic recession has had little effect on decisions whether to buy or keep a home high-speed internet connection.

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