The number of broadband homes worldwide will increase from 473 million in 2010 and an expected 578 million in 2012 to an impressive 745 million in 2017, according to a report from UK firm Digital TV Research.
The study adds that two Asian economies will together contribute over half (57 per cent) of the 167 million additions forecast over the next five years – China with 73 million and India with 22 million.
China is expected to remain the top nation by fixed broadband households in 2017, with 251 million homes – more than double the 120 million recorded in 2010 (when China was also the leader). The US will retain second place (101 million in 2017 – up by 20 million from 2010).
Global fixed broadband household penetration is expected to reach 49.2 per cent by 2017, up from 33.5 per cent in 2010 and 40.3 per cent by end-2012. In 2017, household penetration will range from 93.7 per cent in South Korea to 14 per cent in India and Indonesia.
Report author Simon Murray said: “Perhaps just as interesting as the overall increase in fixed broadband household numbers is the shift of homes subscribing to faster download speeds.
“Many governments have initiated National Broadband Network projects, which involve extensive capital expenditure to build out modern (usually fibre) networks. In other countries, greater competition has encouraged operators to construct fibre networks from their own initiatives.”
Three-quarters of fixed broadband households received download speeds of less than 10Mbps in 2010, with only 2.3 per cent above 30Mbps. The under 10Mbps proportion will have fallen to 58 per cent by end-2012, and will drop to 31 per cent by 2017.
In contrast, the greater than 30Mbps proportion will reach 7.2 per cent by end-2012, rapidly advancing to more than a quarter of the total by 2017.
About a tenth of fixed broadband households will receive speeds in excess of 100Mbps by 2017 – up from 1.6 per cent at end-2012 and 0.4 per cent in 2010. Sweden (25.5 per cent) will have the highest proportion, with India (three per cent) the lowest.
So there will be 75.7 million homes receiving speeds in excess of 100Mbps by 2017, up from 1.7 million in 2010 and 9.2 million at end-2012. The US (17.2 million) and China (15.1 million) will together supply 43 per cent of the global total in 2017.
The declines in the less than 2Mbps category will be “dramatic”, says the study, with numbers halving between 2010 and 2017 to 71.7 million.
Chinese broadband users on speeds lower than 2Mbps will drop from 60mn to 37.7 million. India will actually increase – from 6.6 million in 2010 to 11.4 million in 2017. However, the US will fall from 14.2 million in 2010 to nothing by 2017.