By Claire Reilly

More Australians have access to computers and more are using broadband internet than ever before. That’s according to new data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics as a part of its research into Household Use of Information Technology in Australia over 2010-11.

Based on data collected from the Multipurpose Household Survey for June 2010 to July 2011, the ABS found that 73 per cent of Australian households have access to broadband internet, which equates to roughly 6.2 million households. Furthermore, of the households that are connected to the internet, 92 per cent of those are connected to broadband.

In 2010-11, the number of households with access to a computer grew by 10 percentage points, up to 83 per cent.

As for what people are doing online, the most popular activity was email (91 per cent of respondents), while “the proportion of internet users that purchased or ordered goods or services over the internet was 68 per cent, up from 64 per cent in 2008-09”. Of those people shopping online, just under 25 per cent said they were buying electrical goods, while roughly 30 per cent said they purchased computer software or hardware.

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In what will come as no surprise to many parents around the country, the proportion of internet users aged between 15 and 17 who used the internet for social networking was 88 per cent.

According to the ABS, “of the 15.3 million people who had access to a computer at home, 90 per cent indicated they had anti-virus and firewall software and 13 per cent indicated they had filtering software”.

Internet use by older Australians and those with a disability was also on the increase, based on data released from the 2009 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers.

53 per cent of people with a reported disability used the internet at any location in 2009, which was up from 39 per cent in 2003. Similarly, the percentage of people over 60 using the internet increased from 21 per cent up to 41 per cent.