With the Federal opposition announcing its alternative NBN policy this week, it seems timely that the Australian Bureau of Statistics has also released its latest report on Internet usage in Australia.

In December last year, there were 12.2 million internet subscribers in Australia. For those playing at home, that represents five per cent annual growth, and one per cent increase from June 2012.

But while 98 per cent of that number are fortunate to be connected to broadband, 282,000 Australians are still connecting to the Internet using dial-up.

While that's a significant drop from the 473,000 Australians connected to dial up in December 2011, it's still an amazingly high number for the year 2012. It's also a pretty good reminder of why a National Broadband Network is so important.

Wonderful wireless

The other surprise to be found in the figures is the prevalence of wireless connections. While 4,727,000 Australian subscribers use ADSL to connect to the world wide web and 918,000 use cable, a whopping 5,995,000 connect using mobile wireless connections.

Of course, there's going to be some overlap, with people using both home and mobile internet connections. But it's still a ridiculously large proportion of the overall broadband ecosystem in Australia.

And if anyone was wondering how they stand on the speed breakdown, 1,645,000 Australians have a connection faster than 24Mbps, 5,406,000 subscribe to a connection between 8Mbps and 24Mbps, and 4,213,000 suffer with speeds between 1.5Mbps and 8Mbps.

The good news there is that the faster speeds are growing over previous years, while slower speeds are dropping, showing that an increasing number of Aussies are beginning to understand the benefits of faster internet.