No streaming for millions, report shows

At least 5.6 million Australians can’t access video streaming, according to a new report.

This means 22 per cent of the nation’s population has insufficient connectivity or data allowances to stream video on demand, the modelling conducted by Deloitte found.

As well, many Australians are worried about the cost of streaming with 58 per cent concerned about subscription prices, the report released by lobby group Free TV found.

The average yearly cost of subscriptions to the likes of Netflix and Stan grew to $660 in 2021.

In releasing the report on Monday, Free TV chair Greg Hywood warned there was little to stop streaming giants from winning exclusive rights to iconic sports events.

The current anti-siphoning rules, expiring in 2023, wouldn’t stop them from acquiring exclusive rights to the NRL, AFL, Olympics or even the Melbourne Cup, he said.

“Australians need the list extended and expanded to stop live and free sport disappearing exclusively behind paywalls,” Greg Hywood said in a statement.

The report also found more than three-quarters of people believe coverage of major sporting events should be free to access.

Figures from the Australian Communications and Media Authority show nine per cent of households, or roughly 1.5 million people, had no internet access at all in 2021.

That included through the NBN, fixed or wireless internet, mobile broadband or satellite.

The households least likely to have internet access were concentrated in remote parts of South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

In the Northern Territory LGA of Belyuen, and in Maralinga Tjarutja in South Australia, for example, only about one in ten households are able to go online.

By comparison, less than one per cent or 219,000 Australians are unable to access commercial TV.


Liz Hobday
(Australian Associated Press)


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