Point-Topic: 523M Broadband Subscribers Worldwide

  • Broadband Penetration
  • FTTH
LONDON - In 2010, the number of broadband subscribers worldwide grew by 12 percent to 523 million, according to new data prepared for the Broadband Forum by research firm Point Topic. Over the year, 56 million new subscribers were added. Asia and Europe are the fastest-growing regions, with Asia likely to overtake Europe during 2011 in terms of total broadband subscribers.



Asia is a mixture of rapidly growing markets and relatively saturated, mature markets, and it has a large and increasingly affluent population. The result is growth from new subscribers as well as a number of users trading up to higher-speed broadband options as broadband usage increases and local availability allows.

China continues to dominate the rankings for total subscribers and net additions; it is also the most rapidly growing market in percentage terms, in the top 10 over the last 12 months.

“The Chinese broadband juggernaut continues to overshadow other markets. Growth is accelerating and this quarter is a significant improvement on the same period in 2008 and 2009,” says Oliver Johnson, chief analyst Point Topic.

Although China dominates, there is plenty of growth in other parts of the market. Broadband subscriptions in the United States, Japan and the U.K. all grew faster in 2010 than in 2008 and 2009. The German market is also doing reasonably well, though there are indications of a slowing in more well-established markets, such as France, Russia and Italy.


Meanwhile, India continues its progress towards the Top 10. It will overtake Spain in the next quarter in terms of total fixed broadband subscribers, and there is a possibility it will be in the top 10 by the end of the year.

Technology Overview
DSL continued to be the global access leader, supporting 331 million subscribers. Cable’s market share is eroding and now sits at 106 million, while fiber is growing fast and is now serving 72 million customers. (Research performed for the Fiber-to-the-Home Councils estimates this number at 62 million.) Fixed wireless access and other alternative technologies continue to add market share as markets start to develop in areas where traditional fixed-line access is difficult to deploy.

DSL and fiber dominate the Asian markets, and cable is most popular in the Americas, though Point-Topic says the U.S. broadband stimulus may lead to a pick-up in fiber growth. However, DSL is likely to become increasingly dominant globally as the addressable market in Asia keeps growing.

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