Broadband Passes 500M Subscribers, With FTTx the 'Greatest Success Story'

  • Broadband Penetration
HONG KONG - One in every five of the world's households now has broadband. The number of subscriber lines passed the 500 million mark in July 2010, says the Broadband Forum at its quarterly meeting in Hong Kong today. Research by industry analysts Point Topic pinpointed the actual date in the third week of July; the Broadband Forum will mark the occasion with a celebration later this week.

The new figures show that global broadband subscribers reached 498 million lines by the end of June 2010, representing a 2.6 percent growth in the quarter and 12 percent year over year. Oliver Johnson, CEO of Point Topic, said: "It has only taken 11 years to get to half a billion fixed broadband lines. The Internet and all that it brings has taken hold like no technology since the invention of fire. It has brought the world closer together, improved health and education standards and introduced an era of cooperation and information sharing that will hasten economic growth and improve standards of living for potentially billions around the world."

China, including not only mainland China but also Hong Kong and Macau, was responsible for 43 percent of all net broadband lines added in Q2 2010 and performed far better than the same quarter in 2009. In Western Europe, many markets did better than the equivalent 2009 quarter. Germany, the UK, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Poland and Turkey all reported strong numbers. Central and South American markets have cooled, but many are still reporting quarterly growth in the 5 percent to 7 percent range. However, North America has slowed significantly.

Asia increased its share of the overall broadband market by 1.2 percent from Q209 to Q210 and by 0.41 percent in the last quarter alone. The region now accounts for almost 41 percent of the total. Europe is in second place with 30 percent and the Americas account for 26 percent.

In terms of access technologies, the growth in FTTx is outstripping both DSL and cable and is eroding cable's market share, especially in the Americas. The Broadband Forum calls this "the greatest success story in broadband." Though overall broadband growth is slow, many consumers are switching to high-speed lines as more services, such as IPTV, demand more bandwidth.


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