From Colin Mann in London
Recent figures compiled for the Broadband Forum indicate that the Western Europe, Africa and Middle East regions showed strong IPTV growth of 45 per cent throughout 2008. The report, prepared for the Forum by industry analysts Point Topic, showed France as the largest IPTV market in the Western European region, with over half of the 10.2 million subscribers.
The IPTV figures â€“ announced at IPTV World Forum in London â€“ come at the same time as world broadband statistics for 2008 show a 62.6 million broadband line growth to 410.9 million lines. While growth was slower later in the year generally, several countries showed improved performance than that of the third quarter of 2008, including France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Singapore and The Philippines. Global IPTV subscriber totals have now reached 21.7 million, which is an increase of 63 per cent on the end of 2007 figures.
"During 2008, IPTV operators showed that TV over IP could be deployed on a large scale. Western Europe remains the largest single region for IPTV," said John Bonsell, a Senior Analyst with Point Topic. “As expected, due to the global economic situation, broadband growth slowed, however all countries experienced overall growth during the last year.”
Regionally, over the last quarter, Latin America (7.55 per cent), Eastern Europe (6.22 per cent) and Middle East and Africa (4.76 per cent) were the best percentage growth performers, although all regions continued to report growth.
In terms of technology, DSL continues to be the most popular broadband access technology, although fibre has grown twice as fast as either cable or DSL in the 12 months to Q4 2008. This should continue, given the number of new implementations and consumer and business demand for higher speeds. Value added services such as IPTV are also proving to be strong drivers for FTTx uptake and have driven this technology through the 50 million mark worldwide.
"This report shows that despite the economic situation the world is facing, the demand for both broadband and IPTV continues to expand," said George Dobrowski, Chairman and President of the Broadband Forum.