Significant subscriber additions last year were made by all fixed platforms: DSL, cable and optical fiber, notes ABI Research, and, in some countries with a high penetration of DSL broadband service, the DSL subscriber base declined slightly, but it was offset by the growth in optical-fiber subscriptions.

Competitive pressures to offer faster broadband access will spur the upward trend in 2012, with global fixed broadband revenue expected to generate $191 billion and reaching $217 billion in 2016, the group adds.

“Fiber broadband adoption has grown rapidly over the past years,” says Khin Sandi Lynn, research analyst/Broadband. “Consumers are becoming increasingly reliant on a number of data-intensive services, such as high-definition online video services, IPTV and online gaming.”

Broadband operators are upgrading existing networks to meet rising bandwidth demand, with some DSL operators going so far as to completely replace existing copper lines with pure optical fiber to offer fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) service, or upgrading copper lines to offer such higher-speed services as VDSL. Nearly 5 percent of DSL broadband customers worldwide had access to VDSL service in 2011.

At the same time, cable operators are upgrading networks to DOCSIS 3.0. Adoption of DOCSIS 3.0 service also continues to grow as cable operators race to compete with DSL and fiber operators. As an example, ABI points to Germany’s Kabel Deutschland, which offers super-fast 100 Mbps DOCSIS 3.0 service for less than $27 per month. Such North American cable operators as Comcast and Time Warner also are rolling out DOCSIS 3.0 to compete against encroaching fiber-optic cable operators.

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