Broadband has taken a significant step forward as the number of subscriber lines passed the 500 million mark in July. The milestone was unveiled by the Broadband Forum during its global Broadband and IPTV Industry Update at its quarterly meeting in Hong Kong. Reached in the third week in July by Point Topic, the milestone will be marked with a celebration by The Broadband Forum later this week. The new figures show that global broadband subscribers reached 498 million lines (497,768,162) by the end of June, representing a 2.63 percent growth in the quarter and 11.99 percent in the last 12 months to end of Q2.
In a typically slow quarter within many markets, particularly in the Americas, reflecting the end of a number of central subsidies and stimulus packages, there were still significant signs of some countries continuing their return to economic health. China, the powerhouse of global broadband in the 21st century so far, was responsible for 43 percent of all net broadband lines added in Q2 and performed far better than the same quarter in 2009 (China includes Mainland China, Hong Kong & Macau). In Western Europe, many markets did better than the equivalent 2009 quarter. Germany, the UK, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Poland and Turkey, amongst others, all reported strong numbers. Central and South American markets have cooled to an extent, but many are still reporting good quarterly growth (of 5-7 percent). However, the US and in particular Canada, broadband growth has significantly slowed, affected by the end of housing stimulus packages. In Canada's case, the market slowed to levels not seen for a decade.
Except for North America, all regions performed better in Q2 than the same period in 2009. Continuing the trend from previous quarterly figures, Asia increased its share of the overall broadband market by a further 1.2 percent in the year and by 0.41 percent in the last quarter alone. The region now accounts for almost 41 percent of the total, with Europe in second place with 30 percent and the Americas showing 26 percent. China is the biggest individual contributor to the Asian growth, adding 5.47 million lines to bring its total to 120.59 million or over 24 percent of the 500 million lines.
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Elsewhere in the top 10, the real movement is from Russia and Brazil. Russia has a more consistent growth curve over the past few quarters compared to the stop/start nature of Brazil. As a result, Russia is likely to overtake Brazil in the next three to six months to become the 9th largest broadband market.
The second quarter also highlighted a strong growth in IPTV subscribers with over 2.3 million new IPTV subscribers, reaching a total of over 38.5 million people using IPTV world-wide by the end of Q2. The growth is in line with broadband growth, so the proportion of the world's broadband lines carrying IPTV remains the same as Q1 at 7.7 percent. Europe still remains the most established region for IPTV with almost 19 million subscribers, of which almost half are in France. China (with Hong Kong and Macau) had the most net additions this quarter, namely 421,000, ranking it second, with US in third place with almost 6.5 million subscribers. China dominates the Asian IPTV market with over 6.7 million IPTV subscribers, although there is enormous potential in countries such as India which are just at the start of IPTV deployment. Services are also developing in other areas as well. For example, Colombia reported over 100,000 subscribers for the first time in Q2.
In terms of access technologies, the growth in FTTx take-up is outstripping both DSL and cable, and eroding cable's market share. FTTx has especially gained market share in the Americas over the last two years.
In Asia, DSL continues to be the more popular choice and is increasing its market share, powered by emerging broadband nations such as India, Vietnam and China where major gains have outweighed the technology substitution in South Korea and Japan