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Fibre Optic Connections Boost World Broadband Users to 654.6 Million

Friday, June 21st, 2013 (10:19 am) - Score 1,687
fibre optic cable storm

The latest Point Topic report for Q1-2013 reveals that the total number of global broadband subscribers has grown by 2% (12.5 million) in the quarter to hit 654,600,000 (up from 643.7m in Q4-2012), which remains fairly flat but continues to be fuelled by the rollout of new superfast fibre optic (FTTH, FTTC etc.) connectivity.

Overall, world broadband subscribers saw an annual growth of nearly 8% and the East Asia region continues to have the largest share of the market (37%), which is primarily being driven by the dominance of China. Indeed East Asia also accounts for 49% of all net additions across the world.

But the real news is the way that a new generation of superfast fibre optic (FTTH/P/B) and hybrid fibre (FTTx/FTTC) technologies are continuing to add new connections and cannibalise others from the old methods of slower copper (ADSL/ADSL2+) services. It’s noted that copper services declined by 2.77m subscribers in Q1-2013 and that’s up sharply from the 415,000 lost in Q4-2012.

global broadband technology growth q1 2013

As a result of this the overall market share of all fibre optic technologies (hybrid and full fibre) is now 22% (up from 20.78% in Q4-2012), which puts it just ahead of cable services (e.g. Virgin Media) that have held fairly stable at around 19%.

This of course still leaves copper broadband with just over half of the whole market and the most dominant method of internet connectivity, albeit one that is clearly in a slow decline. Fibre solutions are continuing to expand and thus we’d expect to see this trend in copper decline increasing.

The United Kingdom itself is home to around 22 million fixed line broadband ISP subscribers (here), which is incidentally just a little above the 19.6 million premises or so that can now access a superfast broadband connection through fibre and cable services (dominated by BT and Virgin Media).

Point Topics report said:

FTTx has grown much more rapidly than FTTH in the quarter. Countries posting the highest growth are Belarus, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Spain and Turkey. In particular, the United Kingdom has contributed significantly to FTTx net additions, as the incumbent BT continues the national roll-out of its VDSL [FTTC] network.

Point Topic’s report also included the latest IPTV (online TV services) and VoIP (Voice-over-IP) stats. At the end of Q1-2013 there were 79.3m IPTV subscriptions across the globe (up 3.3 million in the quarter), which is down on the 3.6m added in Q4-2012. Meanwhile VoIP grew by 2.3% over the same quarter (down from 3.0% in Q1-2012) to top 155.2 million subscribers.

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Mark Jackson
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 Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
8 Responses
  1. Avatar MikeW

    Isn’t FTTB still a hybrid solution?

    • IMO it’s close enough to be considered true fibre but at the same time this varies from building to building.

    • Avatar MikeW

      I guess when the last remaining copper can go at the same sort of speed as the fibre, it becomes immaterial.

      So FTTB with gigabit ethernet is on the “good” side, while FTTB with VDSL2 on a single twisted pair isn’t really enough, although the 30a profile would change the equation a little.

  2. Avatar FibreFred

    No surprise here, some comment on here we are behind and that everyone else is doing FTTH

    Obviously not.

    • Avatar Roberto

      @Fibrefred Is there any figures in the report which compare the take up and deployment of FTTC vs FTTH connections per country? I for some reason can not load the full report. As to us being behind well with our own deployment in many areas of the country it is behind original dates set, how that fairs when compared to other countrys target dates i have no idea though.

  3. Avatar Slow Somerset

    Still lagging behind here in Somerset FibreFred and still no News from Connecting Devon & Somerset on the last day of Spring.

    • Avatar MikeW

      I wonder about the Devon+Somerset project… whether it needs to go for the extra EU approval, like Cumbria did, because the total project value is higher than £50m.

      I’m not clear whether Cumbria needed to do that step because it had additional ERDF funding as part of the £51m, or if the use of state aid was enough alone.

      D+S is considerably above the £50m threshold, but doesn’t have the extra ERDF funding.

  4. Avatar Slow Somerset

    MikeW there has been no mention of EU approval on there website but then there has been no new news on there since the end of March. But it is a good Question.

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