Global Fiber Broadband Market Share to Reach 19 Percent by End of 2013

SINGAPORE - The worldwide fixed-line broadband subscriptions continue to grow at a healthy pace in 2013 with the fiber-optic broadband market share reaching 19 percent by year-end 2013, up from 16 percent in 2012, according to ABI Research’s “Broadband Subscribers” market data.

“The number of broadband subscribers is growing on all DSL, cable, and fiber-optic platforms,” said Jake Saunders, VP and practice director at ABI. "However, there is a marked shift in consumer adoption from DSL to fiber-optic as operators continue to extend the reach of their fiber-optic infrastructure."

This trend is taking place in emerging as well as developed markets. DSL broadband adoption is expected to decline in China in the next few years as the country’s broadband operators, China Telecom and China Unicom, aggressively roll out fiber-optic networks. In 1Q-2013, total DSL subscriptions dropped by 3 million. In the same period, ABI Research has seen fiber-optic adoptions grow from 32.9 million to 37.6 million. “ABI Research expects globally 25.6 million fiber-optic broadband subscribers will be added to eclipse 124 million subscribers in YE-2013," noted Khin Sandi Lynn, industry analyst. "In the DSL broadband category, subscriber net addition is expected to drop by minus 50 percent compared to 2012.”

Fiber-optic to the home, or even to the curb, is not a viable solution in every locale. In semi-urban and rural locales, routing fiber-optic is often uneconomical. Recently broadband operators such as Deutsche Telekom, Telecom Italia and British Telecom are testing vectoring VDSL2, which can provide broadband speeds of up to 100 Mbps over copper networks. Therefore, despite the rapid growth in fiber-optic broadband service, the DSL broadband platform will remain as the dominate platform in the years to come.

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