The number of fixed broadband subscribers continues to grow. According to ABI Research practice director Jason Blackwell, “There were more than 539 million fixed broadband subscribers globally at the end of second quarter. That is an 8 percent increase from the same quarter in 2010. Customer net addition is stronger in emerging markets.”
The number of customers using high bandwidth services such as Internet video and online gaming is growing around the world. Exploding IP traffic generated by these services is putting service providers under pressure to handle the bandwidth demand. Broadband operators are expanding fiber broadband coverage to serve these bandwidth-hungry services. As an example, China Telecom is deploying fiber optic broadband aiming to serve 100 million households and 30 million fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) subscribers by the end of 2015.
At present, North America is the region with the highest fiber optic broadband penetration followed by Asia-Pacific. Extending fiber broadband coverage not only increases speed but also allows the roll out of services including video on demand (VOD) and IPTV. ABI Research estimates that worldwide fiber broadband subscriber numbers will more than double in 2016 to 142 million subscribers, from 69.6 million in 2011.
The Asia Pacific region is seeing strong subscriber growth, due in particular to the increasing number of subscribers in China. About 17 million Chinese subscribers have been added since the second quarter of 2010.