Global broadband hits 484 million subscriber mark

June 16, 2010
JUNE 16, 2010 -- Broadband subscription growth took an upswing during the first quarter of 2010, supported in part by healthy DSL growth in every region, strong fiber rollouts in Asia, and aggressive IPTV service offerings.

JUNE 16, 2010 -- Broadband subscription growth took an upswing during the first quarter of 2010, supported in part by healthy DSL growth in every region, strong fiber rollouts in Asia, and aggressive IPTV service offerings. These statistics were revealed today by the Broadband Forum at a CommunicAsia press conference, in conjunction with research by industry analysts Point Topic.

The figures show that global broadband lines now top 484 million lines (484,788,597), representing a 3.12% growth in the quarter and 12.41% in the last 12 months to end of Q1 2010. At the same time the number of IPTV subscribers grew to 36.3 million. China and the USA are the top two countries for both broadband and IPTV.

Based on the research by Point Topic GBS database, Asia was responsible for more than 53% of the broadband lines added, with mainland China alone accounting for 45% of the total lines added worldwide in Q1 2010. China continues to be at the top of the table in terms of broadband with continued healthy growth at 5.67% in the quarter and 20.96% in the 12-month period, taking it to 112,594,000 subscribers. This made China the fastest growing country in both percentage and in absolute terms in the first three months of 2010.

Six of the top ten countries improved their performance in Q1 2010 compared to Q4 2009; China, the USA, Germany, the UK, South Korea, and Brazil all grew more quickly in the first quarter of 2010 against Q4 2009.

"With all the recent technology advancements and service provider pushes, it is great to see how strong broadband continues to grow on a global basis -- and now backed by some major national government initiatives we expect this to accelerate even more in the coming years," said Robin Mersh, COO of the Broadband Forum.

DSL continues to be the most popular access technology for broadband. However, fiber continues to grow quickly, and the figures for Q1 2010 show that Asia now has over 50 million fiber subscribers. The growth in fiber is expected to be the dominant theme over the next few years although DSL still has its place particularly in the “second wave” broadband countries like Indonesia and the Philippines, the research indicates. Wireless also will have an impact, particularly where the geography of a country makes fixed connections more difficult.

IPTV is a big part of today's connected lifestyle, the research shows. The 12 months from Q109 to Q110 saw global growth of 46% in IPTV subscriber terms. This equates to 11.4 million new IPTV subscribers, the most rapid growth in any 12-month period yet recorded, Point Topic and the Broadband Forum say. In the first quarter of 2010 the worldwide IPTV market has grown by just under 8% (7.8%) and there are now 36.3 million IPTV subscribers as at March 31st 2010. IPTV penetration is therefore running at around 7.7% of total broadband lines.

Europe, especially France, continues to lead the IPTV subscriber market in total subscribers and continues to grow quickly. Regionally Asia is beginning to challenge that global dominance by adding approximately 2.9 million customers over the last year and 1.2 million in the last quarter alone. This has resulted in Asia increasing its regional share of the market to 32.4% - almost one-third of the global market.

China was the top IPTV growth market with over 5 million lines, with South Korea, Japan, and Hong Kong also among the top 10 countries. The Americas grew to 18.17% market share, representing the only other region to increase its share in the quarter, while the Middle East and Africa are beginning to show serious growth for the first time as numbers from the UAE and Egypt contributed to a record quarter.

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