A new survey finds no evidence that private search engines are driving up costs

A new study of Australia’s search engine market has found there is no evidence private search engine operators are driving down the cost of accessing the internet.

Key points:The new survey found that searches on private search platforms were not significantly increasing as a percentage of total Australian internet traffic in the first quarter of 2019The report is the first of its kind to look at the effect of private search firms on internet pricesThe study found searches on search engines were not dramatically increasing as percentage of overall Australian internet usage, while private search marketplaces were driving up the cost for Australians to access the internet for personal use.

Key findings:The survey by Australian Data Group and the Information and Communication Technology Association of Australia found searches for the term “Internet price” had increased by 3.5 per cent in the quarter, and searches for “Internet access price” increased by 5.4 per cent.

“While we don’t have a definitive answer as to why this is happening, it is certainly indicative of the growing popularity of private internet search platforms,” the study said.

“There are several factors that contribute to this increase in the price of internet access.”

It said private search businesses were providing “substantially less value for consumers than public search engines”, with one of the most significant being the amount of time consumers spent searching for relevant information.

The report found there were about 6.8 million people in Australia accessing the Internet via private search.

That compared to an estimated 7.5 million people accessing the Network Rail Network, and about 6 million accessing the ABC.

“It’s very clear that the private search business is the one driving up internet costs, with the gap between the private sector and public being widening,” Mr McGlashan said.