Broadband has passed another major milestone, according to the latest figures published by the Broadband Forum and prepared by broadband industry analysts Point Topic. The global total of broadband subscribers soared to over 600 million in the first quarter of 2012, indicating a further acceleration in growth as over 100 million new lines were added (20% of the total) in less than 18 months.
Globally, the growth in broadband during Q1 of 2012 was estimated at 16,118,210 lines, up from just over 14 million in the last quarter of 2011. This represents a quarterly rise of 2.7% and an annual increase of 11.48%. Announced during CommunicAsia in Singapore, the figures also highlight again the dominant position of Asia, led in both broadband and in IPTV by China.
“This is another significant milestone in an exciting arena that shows no sign of slowing down,” commented Robin Mersh, CEO of the Broadband Forum. “It is just 18 months since we celebrated the 500 million subscriber watershed and even less time since IPTV subscribers reached 50 million - yet in both cases growth is still accelerating. It is especially rewarding to be making this announcement in Asia, which has contributed so much to fuelling this phenomenal success. I am also particularly pleased to see how exceptionally well fibre is doing, a clear indication of the importance of our continued efforts in testing and certification of G-PON.”
Regional rankings for broadband
Asia continues to be the biggest overall region with 262,080,147 subscribers in total, having added 8,575,397 new lines at a growth rate of 3.38% in the quarter and 15.19% in the year.
Few changes have emerged in the Top 20 Broadband Country Rankings; however Russia, Brazil and India all continue to show above average growth rates both in the quarter and annually, with Ukraine and Turkey also showing high growth. China can celebrate the highest number of new subscribers with annual growth of 26.4 million (19.17% annual growth rate). The highest annual growth rates are Russia’s 27.43% and Ukraine’s 26.82%, with China, India and Brazil also posting double-digit annual increases. The five Asian countries in the top 20, together serve 239 million broadband subscribers –more than one-third of the global total.
“DSL is the most popular access technology on a global basis: although its market share has dropped by 0.5% in the quarter, there is a long way to go before the copper-based access technology is overtaken,” said Oliver Johnson, CEO of Point Topic. “For fibre, the cost-effectiveness, from the operators point of view, and the significant increase in bandwidth over DSL in particular is hitting the sweet spot at the moment in terms of technology market share.”
IPTV grows to 65.6 million, China outshines in numbers and growth rates
IPTV, the most demanding application for high speed broadband, now has 65.6 million subscribers, up 3.8 million in the quarter. The Asian market is advancing the fastest with the strong leader- China added over three times as many IPTV subscribers in the quarter as any other country. This gap is likely to increase even further though both France and the US are reporting strong numbers and accelerated growth in the report period.
Robin Mersh commented: “The demand for connectivity and the efforts of the industry all point to a world in which billions of devices are connected via the Internet. As this happens, the need for robust standards and the importance of interoperability will grow. Our new Broadband Forum TR-069 testing program joining the Broadband Forum G-PON Certification Program are just two of the many preparatory steps we are taking to enable new M2M, Cloud and Connected Home applications, amongst others. We are engineering smarter ways to manage smart access technologies and applications.”
The Broadband Forum continues to provide the tools and resources that enable interoperability and expedite broadband deployments; helping service providers worldwide provide the services their customers demand both in quality and cost-effectiveness. Whether it is aiding the migration to IPv6, empowering remote management of the Connected Home via the TR-069 protocol, improving multi-service architectures to prepare for the next generation of services or setting the stage for network convergence, the Broadband Forum is central to extending the reach of broadband.