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Global Fixed Broadband Subscribers Reach 913Million as Copper Wanes

Tuesday, January 30th, 2018 (2:34 pm) - Score 758
world internet connectivity

The total number of world fixed broadband subscribers grew by 2.38% in Q3 2017 and now stands at 913.3 Million (up by nearly 70 million over the past year). Meanwhile the number of copper lines (ADSL etc.) fell by 6.3% over the past year and “full fibreFTTH/P connections increased by 30.4%.

The report, which was produced by Point Topic, notes that nearly three quarters of all net adds in fixed broadband subscribers came from East Asia, which in turn was mainly driven by continued growth in China that added 15 million broadband subscribers during Q3 2017 (this is from a total combined quarterly increase of about 21.27 million).

China remains hungry for ultrafast FTTH connections and in keeping with that they added 68.7 million subscribers over the past year to Q3 2017, which constituted a whopping 85% of the global total FTTH net adds in that period. We should also point out that China aren’t the only ones planting FTTH, Vietnam added nearly 900,000 in FTTH and also saw an 11% quarterly growth in their total fixed broadband customer base.

Unsurprisingly East Asia as a whole thus took a 73.79% share of the quarterly net adds for all technologies, which is well above the 15.72% for the whole of Europe and 2.38% for North America.

Top 10 Broadband Countries (Subscriber Size)
1. China 337.3 million
2. USA 105.5 million
3. Japan 39.2 million
4. Germany 32.6 million
5. Russia 28.6 million
6. France 28.2 million
7. United Kingdom 26.1 million
8. Brazil 24.3 million
9. South Korea 21.2 million
10. India 18.6 million

Meanwhile more mature markets, such as Western Europe, continue to witness the cannibalisation of older and slower copper ADSL lines by faster FTTP/H and hybrid fibre (FTTC) or Cable (DOCSIS) services. In terms of the annual change, the number of copper lines globally fell by -6.3%, while hybrid FTTx/FTTC lines also dropped -5.4% and wireless slipped by -1.5%.

On the flip side Cable networks, like Virgin Media, grew +6.9% (DOCSIS 3.1 will help them to stay competitive) and FTTH/P services surged by +30.4%. Once again the influence of FTTH/P services in Asia is obvious when looking at the technology split by region, although it’s worth remembering that more mature markets (e.g. Europe) built their copper networks a long time ago, while newer markets are building lines for the first time and naturally pick fibre.

pointtopic_broadband_technology_market_share_q3_2017

The current trends will probably continue for a couple more years as China continues to dominate. However, European countries are increasingly switching their focus to “full fibre,” which is likely to become more obvious as the UK and other countries ramp up their deployments. The UK is of course playing a game of catch-up and many EU countries have considerably more FTTH/P in the ground.

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