Research: Global broadband market rebounds

Recovering from a slight decline in the second quarter, global broadband subscriber growth is rebounding in the third and fourth quarters as China’s demand for high-speed Internet access soars, according to the market research firm iSuppli Corp.

Across the major segments of DSL, cable and fibre, the number of new broadband subscribers worldwide in the third quarter is projected to rise by 5.8 per cent to reach 16.5 million, iSuppli data show, overcoming the seasonal downward pull of the previous period when subscribers tumbled by 6.6 per cent to 15.6 million.

All told, the projected third-quarter totals will show that the market nearly caught up to the first-quarter figure of 16.7 million. Furthermore, the bounce-back appears to be a prelude to even loftier levels predicted for the final quarter of 2010 as global broadband subscribers rise by 7.3 per cent to reach 17.7 million.

“Broadband subscriber additions declined in the second quarter because of normal seasonality as well as a poor performance in the North American market,” said Lee Ratliff, senior analyst for broadband and digital home at iSuppli. “However, Chinese consumers‚ insatiable demand for high-speed Internet is so high that it will cause subscriber numbers to rise again in the second half of the year.”

China continues to add broadband subscribers at a blistering pace. Coming off a best-ever first quarter that saw the addition of approximately 6.0 million subscribers, growth in the second quarter slowed only slightly with the addition of another 5.4 million. No broadband slowdown is expected in the world‚s most populous country, and each of the final two quarters will see new subscribers numbering 5.7 million, iSuppli projections indicate.

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