Global broadband penetration passes one-third of all homes

More than one-third of the world’s households will have a fixed broadband connection by the end of this year, according to US firm ABI Research, which is forecasting there will be 618.7mn subscribers to fixed broadband services by the end of 2012, up 7.3 per cent from one year previously.

The growth is expected to come from all the fixed broadband platforms: DSL, cable, and fibre-optic broadband. DSL broadband subscriptions grew 1.2 per cent on a sequential basis in the second quarter of this year (adding 4.3mn subscribers), compared to sequential growth of 1.5 per cent for the first quarter, and suggesting that DSL subscribers are shifting to other alternative platforms such as fibre, according to ABI Research.

“Development of next-generation broadband networks is creating opportunities to upgrade customers to fibre optic,” said Jake Saunders, vice president and practice director of core forecasting. “Fibre optic broadband’s market-share is expected to increase to 13.2 per cent by end-2012 from 12 per cent in 2011, while DSL market-share will decline nearly 1 per cent point from 64 per cent in 2011.”

North America is believed to have the highest fixed broadband penetration around the world, with 72.4 per cent of households using broadband services, although Western Europe had nearly caught up by the end of June, adding 1.2 million subscribers in the preceding three months, resulting in a penetration rate of 72 per cent.

The subscriber base of key broadband operators in Western Europe – such as BT, Deutsche Telecom, and Iliad Telecom – increased more than per cent from the first quarter, while the majority of North American operators grew their subscriber count by about 0.8 per cent from the first quarter (except for Cox Communications, which grew approximately 3 per cent).

Increasing penetration of connected devices, applications, and services over broadband access is described by the research firm as continuing to drive the adoption of high-speed broadband services.

“As broadband operators upgrade their networks, customers are snapping up the faster services,” said Khin Sandi Lynn, research analyst. “At the end of 2Q-2012, more than 44 per cent of total customers subscribe to a broadband service of 10 Mbps and above.”


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