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Australians use only 15 percent of their monthly broadband quota, on average, according to a report by Sydney-based telecommunications analyst firm Market Clarity released this week.

 

The firm conducted its study '” Broadband Download Behaviour in Australia '” The Disconnect Between Allowance and Usage (available in full from its website), over a period of four years, from 2006 to 2010. Its results show Australian users are far from exceeding their average broadband quotas of 45GB, with residential usage being about 7GB per month.

Market Clarity has been comparing the major ISPs' plans on offer each year, focusing its research on residential fixed broadband plans, and excluding from its analysis 3G mobile services. The study concludes a decade of broadband growth, which culminated in the recent terabyte download quota war between ISPs, has resulted in relatively stable price points, but with increasing quota value.

Last August iiNet launched what it claimed was Australia's first terabyte-per-month plan. Most other major ISPs have since rushed to launch similar plans. However, skepticism has arisen about the practical utility of the offerings '” whether it's possible for users to reach their limit each month.

'Even before the 'terabyte wars' began, Australian broadband users were already the lucky beneficiaries of growing download allowances,' said Market Clarity chief executive Shara Evans this week. 'That trend, most apparent since around 2008, led us to wonder whether there might not be a gap between the allowances subscribers receive when buying broadband plans, and their consumption of broadband data,' she said.

Evans' surmise turned to be right. Her company's study shows that while consumers tend to migrate to plans with more generous allowances, their download behavior is lagging behind the broadband growth.

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