Broadband milestone reached: 600mn subs worldwide

The global total of broadband subscribers soared to over 600mn in the first quarter of 2012, indicating a further acceleration in growth as over 100 million new lines were added (20 per cent of the total) in less than 18 months, according to a report prepared for industry body the Broadband Forum by UK research firm Point Topic.

Worldwide growth during the first three months of this year was estimated at 16.12 million broadband lines, up from just over 14 million in the last quarter of 2011. This represents a quarterly rise of 2.7 per cent and an annual increase of 11.48 per cent.

Announcing the figures during the CommunicAsia event in Singapore, Broadband Forum’s CEO Robin Mersh said that they highlight again the dominant position of Asia, led in both broadband and in IPTV by China.

“This is another significant milestone in an exciting arena that shows no sign of slowing down,” said Mersh. “It is just 18 months since we celebrated the 500 million subscriber watershed and even less time since IPTV subscribers reached 50 million – yet in both cases growth is still accelerating.

“It is especially rewarding to be making this announcement in Asia, which has contributed so much to fuelling this phenomenal success. I am also particularly pleased to see how exceptionally well fibre is doing, a clear indication of the importance of our continued efforts in testing and certification of G-PON.”

Asia continues to be the biggest overall region with 262 million broadbandsubscribers in total, having added 8.5 million new lines at a growth rate of 3.38 per cent in the quarter and 15.19 per cent in the year.

Few changes emerged in the Top 20 Broadband Country Rankings, although Russia, Brazil and India all continued to show above average growth rates both in the quarter and annually, with Ukraine and Turkey also showing high growth.

China can celebrate the highest number of new broadband subscribers with an annual growth of 26.4 million (giving a 19 per cent annual growth rate). The highest annual growth rates were posted by Russia (27.43 per cent) and the Ukraine (26.82 per cent), with China, India and Brazil also posting double-digit annual increases.

DSL remains the most popular access technology on a global basis: despite its market share dropping by 0.5 per cent in the quarter, there is still a long way to go before the copper-based access technology is overtaken, according to Oliver Johnson, CEO of Point Topic.

“For fibre, the cost-effectiveness, from the operators point of view, and the significant increase in bandwidth over DSL in particular is hitting the sweet spot at the moment in terms of technology market share,” he added.

Meanwhile, the number of subscribers to managed IPTV services globally reached 65.6mn, up 3.8mn in the quarter, with the Asia market advancing the fastest, thanks in large part to China, which added over three times as many IPTV subscribers in the quarter as any other country.

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