broadbandGlobal broadband subscriptions hit one billion in the second half of the year, with a subscriber in mainland China most likely the one that was the billionth subscriber, according to a new report from Point Topic.

That means continued growth since the end of June when Point Topic reported that the total number of global fixed line broadband subscribers was 983 million.

“The ‘next billion’ is already being covered and while there is a long way to go and some difficult people and places to reach the choice of having quick access to the internet will be available to everyone within a generation,” Point Topic said, adding that technologies rarely manage to spread through the world so quickly — in only twenty years more than half the households in the world have a fixed broadband line.

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Global Broadband Subscriptions
As background, Point Topic points out that the worldwide web as it is defined today first emerged in 1989. But its adoption lagged for an estimated 10 years because the underlying technology for access was brutally slow – with speed measure in bytes and if one were lucky (and rich enough) even kilobytes.

Web adoption didn’t take off until higher speeds were available – with the cable industry providing high-speed modems, a technology that was followed quickly by DSL, VDSL and several other solutions, leading up to the speeds available from full fiber and the evolving 5G technologies.

“More and more integral to our lives the services and opportunities that high-speed internet access bring us, continue to multiply as do the positive and sometimes negative effects of any new technology that changes the world,” Point Topic said in its report about global broadband subscriptions.

Image courtesy of flickr user Sean MacEntee.

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