Ten Key Findings From Whirlpool's Annual Broadband Survey

Each year, we eagerly await the results of Whirlpool's annual survey for an insight into what tech-savvy people in Australia think about broadband issues. The big topics this year? Downloading media (though not necessarily paying for it), monthly limits and — of course — the NBN.

A total of 23,513 people filled out the survey this year, which is actually slightly down on last year but still a very impressive result.

As Whirlpool's organisers point out, because its readers tend to be relatively advanced in their use of technology, they don't necessarily represent the opinions of the population overall. That said, I suspect the profile matches up with Lifehacker readers pretty well. Here, in no particular order, are ten of the more notable findings.

  1. Broadband continues to improve. 61.7% of respondents said that broadband was better value than a year ago.
  2. We're very keen on downloading media. 55.5% of respondents said they used their connection for TV, music and movies, while 45.4% said BitTorrent was a key application.
  3. We're not so keen on paying for it. However, just 19.7% said they used their connection to purchase or rent media. Oh dear.
  4. We sometimes sail close to the wind on download limits. Just over a third of respondents use less than half of their monthly data allocation — which means that two-thirds of us are sometimes getting pretty near. That said, only 7.9% said they frequently exceeded their limit.
  5. We like the NBN, but think it could have been handled better. While 58.7% of respondents were either positive or very positive about the National Broadband Network, almost a third (31.2%) think the government's handling of the project was poor.
  6. It's all about speed, baby. Just over half the respondents (56.9%) plan to switch to an NBN-based service as soon as one becomes available in their area. Of those, 22.8% want a 250Mbit down/100Mbit up connection, 20.5% want 100/40, 19.2% want 50/20, and 13.7% want 25/5. Just 8.6% would opt for the minimum 12/1 combination.
  7. We don't want to pay more for speed though. More than a third (35.5%) said they would not pay any more for extra speed, while a similar percentage said they would pay between $10 and $30 more a month for higher connection speeds.
  8. Notebooks are popular, but not dominant. 26.6% of respondents used a notebook as a primary computer, while 50.2% used one as a secondary computer. (Only 13.4% of respondents said they had just one PC.)
  9. Internode remains the highest-rated ISP. Internode tops the rankings for reliability and willingness to recommend your ISP to others, which matches up with our own Best of 2010 awards.
  10. 1.5% of people pay their broadband bills at Australia Post. No, that doesn't make sense to me either.

The consistent theme here? We like new and better options, but we're not so keen on paying for them — which is human nature, I guess. Hit the link below for the full results.

Australian Broadband Survey 2011


Comments

    1.5% pay at Australia post, tell you that 98.1% have to pay by CC, DD or BPAY. I think if you went to an ISP and said I have some cash to pay my invoice, they would laugh at you on you way out with the your cash in ya pocket...

    "22.8% want a 250Mbit up/100Mbit down connection"

    I think you have your ups and downs confused.

      I think you're right! Fixed now, thanks for the spot.

    Not really surprising findings. Most surveys on consumer wants tend to highlight the same things; Australians want a premium product, at a budget price whilst not loosing the ease of access or usage they're used to. As a consumer, we're typically pretty finicky and hard to please.

    Going back to the 'why we pirate' article a few weeks back, they were the same responses - "There's no alternative product which is as easy to access without paying (what we deem) unreasonable costs".

    I thought the technical proficiency section was a good one. It's obvious people who know what they are doing would never go with Dodo.

      As one of the 25.5% who are with Dodo and proficient, I think they have made significant improvements in their reliability and service. I would agree that they have a bad rep and they did deserve it previously but not (as much) anymore.

      If you look at the historical analysis graphs, they're one of the few ISPs that have made notable improvements nearly across the board. Check out all of their customer support graphs and the "would you recommend".

      Dodo have done me well over the past 24 months - a better experience overall that I had with iiNet for the preceding 24 months.

    With regards to point 3, I would gladly pay for the media I torrent if there was a service that actually provided quality online downloads comparable to what I can get through torrents.

    Until that happens, I will continue to torrent and then purchase the best material on DVD and BluRay.

    As expected, everyone saying they want the faster speeds of the NBN but aren't prepared to pay for it. Given that a basic 12Mbps service is going to cost the same as ADSL2, are these people really going to pay double to get faster speeds? Methinks not.

      "As expected, everyone saying they want the faster speeds of the NBN but aren’t prepared to pay for it."

      The tax payer has already paid for it? 43 billion dollars worth.

    Only 58.7% "technically advanced" respondents approve of the NBN? I would have thought that figure would have been higher.

    /glad to see it's not, though.
    //money could be better spent on more critical initiatives

      I'm not entirely convinced we need the NBN right now - and can't see how it can be fully utilised on a home consumer level just yet. As for 100mbit download speeds, the only thing I can see it being utilised for is piracy and multimedia use. Not exactly crucial services. Speed wise, I'll be happy to stay on, or near ADSL2 connection speeds when I switch to the NBN at some point.

      Do I think the NBN is a waste of money though? I'm on the fence. I think its a huge amount to spend, when we have energy and health crises on our hands, however I do think there will be a growing need for the NBN in the coming decades. No one can dispute how much the massive rise and adoption of the internet over the last 15 years has changed the way we live; and I do think its pretty much a certainty that we will only see that demand and dependance grow over the coming decades. Considering that the infrastructure that we're using for the fixed internet services are based on more than half century old technology, I do think that an overhaul is needed in the future. With a low population density in Australia, I don't see wireless technologies being a realistic solution.

      As far as the comment of "money could be better spent on more critical initiatives" - I personally think this kind of mentality has made the human race less adventurous and prosperous over the last 30 years. If people had always taken this same mentality - would we have landed on the moon? Would the concorde ever have existed? If everything is going to be measured by the number of heart machines and hospital beds it could pay for, then we'll see very few truely great accomplishments in the future.

        Re: "No one can dispute how much the massive rise and adoption of the internet over the last 15 years ...we will only see that demand and dependance grow over the coming decades"

        As one example, speaking on behalf of Sydney and Melbourne, how fast has population/traffic grown "over the last 15 years" in relation to the infrastructure to support it? I lived 5 years in Artarmon NSW and now 5 years in Essendon VIC, both roughly 10 KM from the CBD, and the travel time during peak hour is 45+ minutes. I'd much prefer that money go to road works.

        Of course, with NBN I suppose we could all telecommute... :)

        Re: "this kind of mentality has made the human race less adventurous and prosperous over the last 30 years", I might agree with you if this project wasn't so mismanaged and under-budgeted.

          Jason
          April 19, 2011 at 4:18 PM

          and the travel time during peak hour is 45+ minutes. I’d much prefer that money go to road works.

          Wont do you much good... you would need a road for each person otherwise you will always be slowed down by some fools on the road

          I think the NBN is a gross waste of money. And don't forget it will blow out of all proportions because it has a Labor govt. directing it.

    I would be interested to see how the survey would look if businesses, educational institutions, pharmaceutical laboratories, and film & music production studios were the ones being surveyed instead of domestic users.
    Domestic demand is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

    On that note on film & music production studios - the reason why people aren't paying for media is because the services currently offered (read: iTunes) are too slow, too expensive, and the range of content offered is still too limited.

    Everybody thinks the NBN is the way to go.

    I think its a waste of taxpayer money.

    Pity it wont be set for us the public (while
    the public will be the ones who ALWAYS FORK THE
    BILL for the USURPERS who have years of experience
    of stealing us dry).

    It will be prioritised for the Govt, Military and the Corporate network.

    If you look at the history of the broadband,
    weve had 1200/2400/4800/9600/14400/28800/56k/128k
    etc upto 100mb.
    If youve noticed all that period of time that
    as the years or speeds progressed that weve
    come to experience greater obstacles with the
    data trafficing.

    $40 billion dollars of taxpayers money is an
    absolute waste of our money and its only going
    to benefit the Usurpers.

    This is my opinion of course.

    Regards,

    ANONYM.

      Its less then that..... And its not straight up........ Not to mention 11 billion or more going to telstra (Which put us in this spot anyway Which sucks)

      And not to mention its a future thing... the money is there to borrow (WHY DO YOU SAY COULD SPEND IT ON THIS AND THAT) Well what is this and that that they have had 30 years to spend that "40 Billion dollars on) Which we will pay back and make lots more

    Whingepool survey states (as fact) that users of TPG pay by 8 (EIGHT) different methods, yet in reality they only take Credit Card or Direct Debit via the bank.
    How are these false results verified? surely the options are only relevant where valid?

    The slant of some isps weighing the survey with huge numbers would put any true survey off tilt (again)
    Real world (mum/dad) users would be totally different.

    D

      MitH, I run a business and TPG send us an invoice each month. We can pay those invoices by mail - cheque, bPay, direct deposit, online credit card, credit card by phone and yes, at Australia Post :)

      They may not advertise these options on their website but they're available to all businesses with an ABN.

      No doubt those small % are from respondents like myself who *don't* use the 2 most common methods to pay.

      Steve

    The nbn needs to be considered against the alternative. We have an old and degrading copper network that will need to be replaced. Does it make sense to replace it with copper or should we upgrade to much faster hardware?

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