Broadband has passed another major milestone, with the global total of broadband subscribers spiking to more than 600 million in the first quarter of 2012, indicating a further growth spurt due to some 100 million new lines added (20 percent of the total) in fewer than 18 months.
According to the latest figures published by the Broadband Forum and prepared by broadband industry analysts Point Topic, worldwide broadband growth in 1Q12 was estimated at more than 16.1 million lines, up from 14 million+ in 4Q11, representing a quarterly rise of 2.7 percent and an annual increase of 11.48 percent.
Comments Robin Mersh, CEO at 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. I am also particularly pleased to see how exceptionally well fiber is doing, a clear indication of the importance of our continued efforts in testing and certification of GPON."
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 nearly 3.4 percent in the first quarter and 15.1 percent 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 celebrates the highest number of new subscribers, with annual growth of 26.4 million (19.1-percent annual growth rate).
The highest annual growth rates are Russia’s 27.4 percent and Ukraine’s 26.8 percent, 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.
Fiber, IPTV On The Rise
"DSL is the most popular access technology on a global basis. Although its marketshare has dropped by 0.5 percent in the quarter, there is a long way to go before the copper-based access technology is overtaken," notes Point Topic CEO Oliver Johnson. "For fiber, 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, the most demanding application for high-speed broadband, now has 65.6 million subscribers, up 3.8 million in the first quarter. The Asian market is advancing the fastest, with China adding more than three times as many IPTV subscribers in the quarter as any other country. This gap is likely to increase even further, even though both France and the United States are reporting strong numbers and accelerated growth in the report period.
"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,” concludes the Broadband Forum’s Mersh. “Our new Broadband Forum TR-069 testing program coupled with the Broadband Forum GPON 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."