Broadband adoption grew at its strongest rate since 2009 in 3Q 2011, with broadband subscribers now totaling more than 581 million worldwide. Growth was strongest for fiber network access, which drove market share gains for telecoms operators. FTTH and hybrid FTTX are gaining in importance as deployments increase, according to the Broadband Forum.
Overall broadband growth during Q3 was estimated at 17.4 million lines, according to totals produced by Point Topic for the Broadband Forum, bringing the global total to 581.3 million, a 3.08% quarterly and annual increase of 12.89%.
Fast Growth in China, Asia & in FTTH, FTTx
Broadband adoption nearly doubled in China, as Asia remained the fastest growing region in terms of broadband access. Broadband subscribers in 3Q accounted for 42.34% of overall global subscribers, a 4.38% quarterly and 16.61% annual growth rate. Europe ranked second in terms of global broadband market share at 29.81%, having grown 2.32% quarterly and 11.55% year-to-year. The Americas ranked third with a 24.87% market share, up 1.92% quarterly and 8.74% year-to-year.
Point-Topic’s stats show that hybrid fiber (FTTx) networks are gaining ground on more traditional technologies. While DSL continued to be the dominant technology, adding more lines than any other network type during the quarter, both FTTH and FTTx deployments showed the largest percentage gains – 8% overall, compared to 2.2% for cable modems and 2% for DSL. Nearly 19 million FTTx lines were added in 3Q 2011, more than double the number in 3Q 2010, and growth continues to accelerate, according to the Broadband Forum. Market share for fiber technologies is now at 16%, fast approaching that of cable modems, at 19.5% (on a global scale).
“Hybrid FTTx will be where the action is over the next few years,” according to Point Topic CEO Oliver Johnson. “Consumers are showing signs of being ready to pay for faster connections and the hybrid solution set is a cost-effective way of getting relatively high speeds to them.”
Regarding digital media convergence, the worldwide IPTV subscriber base grew more than 6% in 3Q 2011, to 54.4 million, with Europe holding on to its leading position. By country, France has the world’s largest number of IPTV subs, though China appears set to catch up and take over first position in 2012. European IPTV market share totaled 43.26% in 3Q, with Asia ranking second at 38.84% and the Americas third at 17.39%. IPTV was especially strong in Russia, breaking into the Top Ten at eighth place.
“These are very healthy figures for Q3 and they demonstrate the ongoing strength of the broadband market,” commented Robin Mersh, Broadband Forum CEO. “We are especially pleased to see the trend in fiber technologies beginning to take off. Our G-PON (Gigabit Passive Optical Network) certification program, launched in Q3, and with first certifications already in place, has been very widely welcomed and this is an indication that the market is ready for much further growth in this area.”
Broadband Forum Agenda
Looking ahead in 2012, the Broadband Forum’s agenda includes new fiber, management, mobile backhaul and multi-service architecture initiatives. The industry association is planning to expand its IPv6 work and MPLS in Mobile Backhaul (MMBI) initiative to ensure a smooth transition to 4G LTE. It also plans to publish important industry specs for multi-service architecture.