The number of broadband subscribers worldwide rose by 3.08 per cent (or 17.4 million lines) during the third quarter of 2011 to reach a total of 581.3 million, according to new figures prepared for the Broadband Forum by Point Topic.
This is the biggest surge since early 2009, and the figures also point to the growing importance of fibre in the technology mix, as Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) and hybrid FTTx deployments increase.
The figures show that while DSL remains the dominant technology, adding more lines than any other in the third quarter of last year, fibre technologies showed the largest growth in percentage terms with over eight per cent for both FTTH and FTTx combined, compared to 2.2 per cent for cable and two per cent for DSL.
Fibre-to-the-x added just under 19 million lines in the three month period – more than double the number of one year previously – and now has a market share of 16 per cent, meaning that it is fast catching up with cable’s 19.5 per cent.
Oliver Johnson, CEO of Point Topic said: “Hybrid FTTx will be where the action is over the next few years. Consumers are showing signs of being ready to pay for faster connections and the hybrid solution set is a cost effective way of getting relatively high speeds to them.”
Asia continues to dominate growth, with over 10.3 million lines added in the quarter, giving it a 42.34 per cent share of the total broadband market. The strongest growth continues to be in China, although strong growth in Russia has seen it improve its ranking to seventh place, fuelled partly by IPTV adoption.
IPTV continues to grow steadily, generating “significant” additional revenues as service providers work hard to make IPTV an integral part of their product package, according to the study. There were an estimated 54.4 million IPTV subscribers worldwide by the end of September, up 6.06 per cent on a quarterly basis.
Asia was once again the fastest-growing region for IPTV, but European markets are strengthening on an individual basis, and while some saturation is perceived, there is “fundamental strength” in the market which has driven the region to a three-year high in quarterly net additions, according to Point Topic.
The top ten countries for IPTV all reported strong growth in the third quarter of 2011, with Russia being a major success story, entering the top ten for the first time and immediately occupying eighth place.
Growth in France (the current world leader) is still believed to be very strong, despite its already high penetration rate, but China will soon take over the top spot thanks to its much larger market size, according to the report.
A recent report from Informa Telecoms & Media (publisher of Telecoms.com) has predicted that the number of pay IPTV subscribers worldwide will more than double over the next five years and reach 76.5 million by the end of 2016.