Broadband Subs Exceed 500M

More than 500 million fixed broadband lines have been activated globally, with more than 40 percent of the total in the Asia/Pacific region, according to the Broadband Forum , which has just revealed its latest statistics for the fixed broadband (DSL, cable modem, FTTX) and IPTV services markets.

At the end of June this year, there were 497.8 million broadband users worldwide, 40.9 percent of which were in Asia/Pacific, 30 percent in Europe, 26.1 percent in the Americas, and almost 3 percent in Africa and the Middle East.

And according to Point Topic Ltd. , which compiled the numbers for the Forum, the global total crossed the 500 million mark during July.

China (including Hong Kong and Macau) has the most broadband connections -- 120.6 million at the end of June -- followed by the US with 85.8 million.

Globally, 12.75 million new lines were added during the second quarter of this year, roughly in line with the same period a year earlier, but lower than the 15 million new lines added during the first three months of 2010.

Current broadband growth is not spread evenly around the world, though. China added nearly 5.5 million broadband connections during the second quarter of this year, while the US added around 850,000 connections. China was the only market to add more than 1 million new broadband connections during the second quarter, according to Point Topic.

The Broadband Forum notes that while growth is strong in markets such as China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Pakistan, and Thailand, growth has slowed significantly in the Americas. Canada recorded its slowest broadband growth quarter in 10 years, while the relatively low number of new lines in the US reflected "the end of a number of central subsidies and stimulus packages." The Forum also noted that "Central and South American markets have cooled to an extent," though some markets in the region are still growing at up to 7 percent quarter-on-quarter.

Some European markets are showing signs of new growth activity as economic pressures ease, with the Forum picking out Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK as markets with "strong numbers."

In terms of technology, the global fixed broadband market is still dominated by DSL, with more than 320 million connections (64.8 percent of the total). Cable broadband accounts for 99.9 million connections (20.2 percent), while FTTX technologies now connect nearly 66 million homes and businesses (13.3 percent). Fixed wireless and satellite account for the remaining 1.7 percent.

IPTV growth
The Forum also unveiled the latest IPTV subscriber numbers. More than 38.5 million homes now receive IPTV services, with almost half (19 million) in Europe. France alone has 9.4 million IPTV users, according to Point Topic's numbers.

That puts France at the head of the global IPTV leaderboard, followed by China, with nearly 6.8 million, and the US, with nearly 6.5 million IPTV users.

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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