Fiber OpticsFixed broadband subscriptions continue on a “healthy” upward trajectory in 2013, with fiber optic broadband subscriptions slated to increase and account for 19% of the global market by year-end, up from 16% in 2012, according to ABI Research’s latest “Broadband Subscribers” Market Data report.

The number of broadband subscribers is growing on all DSL, cable, and fiber-optic platforms. However, there is a marked shift in consumer adoption from DSL to fiber-optic as operators continue to extend the reach of their fiber-optic infrastructure,” commented Jake Saunders, VP and practice director, in a press release.

This is a trend that’s taking place in developing, as well as developed, markets, according to ABI. DSL broadband subscriptions in China, for example, are forecast to decline over the next few years as China Telecom and China Unicom spend aggressively in rolling out fiber optic networks. While DSL broadband subscriptions fell by 3 million in 1Q this year fiber optic broadband additions have increased from 32.9 million to 37.6 million.

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Globally, ABI analysts forecast that broadband fiber subscriptions will increase 25.6 million, surpassing 124 million by year-end 2013. Net subscriber additions for DSL broadband, by contrast, is expected to fall approximately 50% as compared to 2012’s level.

All that said, the cost of running fiber optic cable to homes, or even curbs, remains prohibitive in semi-urban and rural areas, ABI points out. Telecompetitors, such as Deutsche Telekom, Telecom Italia and British Telecom, are instead turning to VDSL2, which can provide broadband speeds as high as 100 Mbps, as a means of upgrading DSL capacity, all of which means that “DSL broadband platform will remain as the dominant platform in the years to come.”

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