Global broadband fiber subscriptions top 1B

Fiber is the world’s dominant broadband access technology with subscriptions surpassing 1 billion, but FWA is the fastest-growing.

Robert Clark, Contributing Editor, Special to Light Reading

April 12, 2024

2 Min Read
Fibre optic cables
(Source: Russell Kord/Alamy Stock Photo)

The number of global fiber broadband connections crossed the 1 billion mark last year, accounting for 69% of all fixed-line services, Omdia estimates.

Fiber's dominance is expected to continue, the analyst firm says, predicting it will top 1.4 billion connections, or 77% of the total, by 2028.

"It's become the default technology being rolled out for both new infrastructure projects and replacement of legacy infrastructure due to future-proof capabilities," said Kyle McKenna, Omdia senior market forecaster.

Fiber is particularly dominant in Asia and Oceania, where it accounts for 92% of broadband subscriptions. Even with China's huge fiber number excluded, it still has an 80% share.

That said, fixed wireless access (FWA) is also having a moment – and not just because of 5G. It's the fastest-growing broadband access technology, with forecast CAGR of 16% over the next four years – "a testament to FWA's emerging role as one of the first real use cases of 5G killer applications," McKenna told an online forum this week.

LTE the choice in Africa

But it will take until 2028 for 5G FWA subs to overtake LTE. Total FWA connections are predicted to reach 115 million over the next four years, with market share advancing from 3.8% to 6.6%.

LTE will remain the prime FWA choice in Africa, where it "meets user demands and a wide range of use cases at a lower cost to serve," McKenna said.

5G FWA's biggest market will continue to be North America, which currently accounts for more than half of the global total. By 2028 FWA is projected to be the leading technology in 25 markets, mostly in Africa and a few Pacific Island nations, McKenna said.

He said cable had entered its decline era, having peaked in 2022, although service providers upgrading to DOCSIS 3.1 will be able to compete with fiber for several years to come.

DSL, which has been in decline for a decade, will lose almost half its total subscriptions, falling to 97 million in 2028. Omdia said it expects 302 million broadband subscriptions to be added over the coming 2023-2028 forecast period, lifting the total subscriptions from 1.5 billion to 1.8 billion.

About the Author(s)

Robert Clark

Contributing Editor, Special to Light Reading

Robert Clark is an independent technology editor and researcher based in Hong Kong. In addition to contributing to Light Reading, he also has his own blog,  Electric Speech ( 

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