Year-end figures for broadband and IPTV, published by the Broadband Forum, show a slowing but steady growth in broadband subscribers with some significant trends in technology and regional growth in new markets. The figures, prepared by Point Topic, highlight the addition of over 40 million new users worldwide, an annual increase of 6.15 per cent, bringing the global total up to 678,455,893.
Highlights from the research include:
Speaking at the Fixed Access Networks Summit in Berlin, Broadband Forum CEO Robin Mersh said: “These figures for 2013 give an extremely interesting picture both regionally and in terms of the changes in technology choices as some markets reach saturation and others start their digital journey. They are a great illustration of the ‘second age of broadband access,’ with existing customers demanding more bandwidth and operators introducing new technologies.”
The figures show that copper-based technologies (DSL, ADSL and ADSL2plus) continue to be dominant, although fibre-based technologies (which include VDSL and VDSL2) are taking a firmer grip and – with growth rates of 17.6 per cent overall.
Regional Growth and Top 10 Countries
China (including all territories) remains at the top of the table with over 192 million subscribers at the end of the year, having added over 3 million new subscribers in Q4 alone. There were no changes in the table of Top 10 Countries during the year, and just one change in positions as the Russian Federation passed France to take up fifth place in the table. Both Russia and Brazil are likely to continue to move up the league table and Mexico is likely to displace India during the first half of 2014.
Commenting on likely future trends, Oliver Johnson, CEO of Point Topic, said: “There are signs that fibre infrastructure in Africa will start to make an impact going forward, reflecting their second mover advantage. The relatively low deployment rate of DSL means any further growth can be based on optical technologies. Fixed wireless will also make up an increasing proportion of Africa’s subscribers in the coming quarters. With acceptable bandwidths and much lower deployment costs, the technologies that make up this sector are well placed to gain market share.”
Point Topic also reports high percentage rates in a number of emerging markets, significantly in the Middle East and North Africa, with over 10 per cent growth in Oman, 9 per cent in Gabon and over 6 per cent in Morocco, Uruguay and Algeria.
IPTV is nearing the 100 million subscriber threshold with 21 per cent growth in 2013 and 17 million new subscribers taking the total to 96 million at yearend 2013. At the end of 2013, 14.1 per cent of fixed broadband subscribers also subscribed to an IPTV service, making this an important driver of continuing growth in the demand for high speed broadband.
Regionally the best performance towards the end of the year was seen in Asian markets and Eastern Europe, driven by a significant surge in demand in Russia.