Broadband Subscriptions Reach 509 Million Worldwide

  • Broadband Penetration
ATLANTA - Broadband subscriptions passed the half-billion mark in the third quarter of 2010, with year-over-year growth rates of 6.7 percent worldwide. According to figures prepared by Point Topic and announced by the Broadband Forum, there were 508.8 million broadband subscribers at the end of 3Q10 - more than 14.3 million of them added in the third quarter alone.

Despite overall uneven growth in the first three quarters of 2010, some countries, especially in developing broadband markets, experienced exceptional growth. Broadband subscriptions in India, Russia, Vietnam, Ukraine and the Philippines all grew by more than 20 percent in the last 12 months.

In the third quarter, although China and the United States continued to add more lines than any other markets, Russia and Brazil grew most rapidly in percentage terms, with 22 percent and 14 percent respectively. Asia continues to increase its share of the total broadband lines in the world, adding more than double the number of broadband lines per quarter than any other region.

Regional Growth
In Asia, more developing markets are starting to report significant growth in broadband, with China, India, the Philippines, Vietnam and South Korea all pointing to increased dominance in the global market. In Europe, the biggest gains are in Eastern Europe. In the Americas, there has been renewed pickup, although it's too early to say whether this is the start of a full-blown recovery. South America, Brazil and Mexico continue to lead in the region.

The Middle East and Africa also show steady growth rather than spectacular numbers. While growth is strong in Egypt, Turkey and South Africa, there are still impediments to adoption (mostly availability and cost) in much of Africa. Once these are overcome, mass adoption could become a reality.

Technology
DSL remains the dominant broadband technology worldwide and continues to grow rapidly in Asia, driven by relatively low up-front costs and easy availability. The market share for fiber continues to grow, and for the first time there is notable growth in fixed wireless technologies.

"As demand for broadband increases worldwide, there is now a significant amount of 'infill' taking place. Many areas don't have access to the infrastructure required for fixed line broadband provision. There has been an increase in access via technologies that don't require wire of some description all the way to the consumer," says Oliver Johnson, CEO of Point Topic.

IPTV Growth
The total number of IPTV subscribers worldwide now stands at 41.9 million, representing growth of 7.3 percent in the third quarter and 36.7 percent growth year over year. "IPTV has grown solidly in the last 12 months. Perhaps more importantly, the number of markets and operators offering IPTV is increasing as high-speed broadband spreads around the world," says John Bosnell, senior analyst at Point Topic. "With TV being increasingly routed over IP networks, the broadband connection is becoming an increasingly significant channel for video delivery. As a tool for customer retention, as a prime mechanism for increasing ARPU, and as a means of providing a distinctive offering to the competition, the bundling of IPTV with a broadband subscription and voice is very attractive to ISPs."

With 46 percent market share, Europe continues as the leading IPTV region. But China is fast catching up to France, the current world leader in terms of IPTV subscribers, and at current growth rates, China will overtake France sometime during 2011. With this growth, Asia is rapidly closing the gap.

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