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World Broadband Users Hit 643.7 Million Fuelled by Fibre Optic Connectivity

Tuesday, Apr 16th, 2013 (9:11 am) - Score 3,487

The latest Point Topic and Broadband Forum statistics for Q4-2012 reveal that the total number of global broadband subscribers has grown to 643,770,042 (up from 635.9m in Q3-2012), which is being fuelled by deployments of fibre optic (FTTH, FTTC etc.) connectivity growing “faster than all other access technologies“.

The results reveal that world broadband subscribers saw an annual growth of 8.6% (50 million new users), although the vast majority of this was supported by a surge in uptake for newer superfast fibre optic based broadband technologies.

The fastest growing internet access technology has been hybrid-fibre (e.g. solutions like BT’s 80Mbps FTTC product in the UK), which increased by 27.5% during the course of 2012. By comparison true fibre optic technologies (FTTH/P/B), which are significantly faster than hybrid-fibre but often more expensive to deploy, grew by a respectably strong 20.3%.

world broadband subscribers q4 2012

In terms of market share, the old style of copper based DSL (ADSL, SDSL etc.) broadband technologies continue to dominate and account for 56.95% of the entire market (down from 59.6% in Q2-2012), which has been cannibalised somewhat by the latest fibre services (hybrid-fibre now holds 17.78% and FTTH/P/B sits on 3%).

Meanwhile cable modem based (e.g. Virgin Media) connectivity has held fairly stable on 19.19% and other technologies (i.e. wireless and satellite) come in last with a market share of just 3.08%.

Oliver Johnson, CEO of Point Topic, said:

Demand for bandwidth can be satisfied by FTTx [hybrid-fibre] solutions, particularly in combination with vectoring, bonding and other incremental VDSL2 improvements so operators will continue to maximize the lifetime of their existing assets.”

As usual China continues to dominate the broadband market with an annual growth of 15% in 2012, which is well above the United Kingdom’s 5.37%. On the other hand the UK actually does quite well for a developed country where broadband availability is already high.


Finally over 75 million users are now subscribing to IPTV (online TV services), which grew by 3.6 million during Q4-2012 (4.97%). Overall, 11.8% of all broadband subscribers now take an IPTV service (up from 10.4% in Q4-2011).

By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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