Global broadband subs see fastest quarterly growth since 2009

The number of fixed broadband subscribers worldwide increased by 2.9 per cent on a consecutive basis in the first quarter of this year to reach 15.2 million, giving the biggest quarterly increase in the last two years, according to new figures announced by the Broadband Forum.

In a report compiled for the Forum by Point Topic, Asia was found to still be the fastest-growing region for broadband subscribers, with a growth rate of 16.2 per cent in the 12 months to March of this year—almost double that of the Americas.

Asia’s fixed broadband subscribers now make up 42 per cent of the global total, up from 40 per cent last year, with Europe and the Americas coming behind with 30 and 25 per cent respectively. Emerging markets are also believed to be making strides, with the Middle East and Latin America advancing quickly.

The strong Asian broadband growth is believed to be due in part to the continuing success of broadband in China, with 42 per cent of total net additions in the first quarter of this year coming from China and its territories (the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau).

IPTV was also found to have shown “exceptional” growth rates in the 12 months to March, with the number of worldwide subscribers increasing by over 34 per cent in the period to reach 48.2 million. France is still placed at the head of the table of top ten countries in terms of IPTV subscribers, with China a close second and Taiwan also now on the leader board in ninth place.

Europe continues to be the top-performing region for IPTV with over 21 million subscribers, but Asia is catching up fast with 18 million, and both China and Taiwan are showing annual growth rates of more than 50 per cent. Of the 2.9 million new IPTV subscribers added worldwide in the first quarter of this year, 1.4 million came from Asia, according to the report.

In terms of access technologies, fibre (including various hybrid DSL/fibre rollouts) is by far the fastest-growing, with an increase in its subscriber base of more than 20 per cent in the 12 months to March 2011. DSL and cable are also believed to still be growing, and for the first time fixed wireless access (FWA) technology is beginning to take off, according to the report.

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